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View Full Version : The Merge



Ashlander
03-03-2012, 12:20 PM
Part 1

"Did you hear about the speech, man?"
"I did. I wonder what's so important, that it forces CrazyJay to show himself for once." Jeremy replies to his long-time friend Gyodon, before ordering up another shot of whiskey.
"Maybe it's got something to do with the economy rebuilding efforts." suggests Gyodon, full knowing that's a stretch.
"I'm pretty sure TheSaw would be the one to update the public about something like that. He's the only one we ever really see." Jeremy says, receiving his shot glass. "Hey man, you know I drink this shit on the rocks."
"Oh yeah, sorry Jer'" The bartender says pulling the glass back, as another patron enter the bar.

"You guys hear abo-" Scarecrow starts before being interrupted by half the men sitting at the bar.
"Yes..."
"Oh. Well aren't you guys just up to date on fucking everything." Scarecrow says waiving the bartender over.

"How's it going Scarecrow? Any inside info on this announcement?" Gyodon asks, leaning back to see the former NTF take a seat on the opposite side of Jeremy. The New Tactics Force, or NTF, was the primary agency for resolving internal strife and conflicts within Stickpage, at least before it was disbanded during the economy reset. Many of their agents were former military, and had specialties ranging from urban warfare, intel gathering, interrogation, and computer hacking. Scarecrow worked more on the support side of things, ensuring the field agents had the information they needed, and played as their eyes and ears by hacking into security systems.

"Inside info? Do I look like I still work for the fucking government?" Scarecrow replies gesturing his torn blue jeans and a typical black AC/DC t-shirt.

"Alright, everybody shut up, it's time now. Let's see what the big news is." The bartender says walking past the three at the bar. He slides Scarecrow his usual Rum and Coke, before flipping on the TV and turning it to channel 3. The entire bar fell quiet.

The screen flickered a few times upon startup before displaying the news anchors sitting excited at the desk. The minor happenings scrolled across the bottom of the screen as the anchors spoke. “14 year old arrested for driving combine down freeway… habitual molester releases from prison next week… “ The news anchors spoke about the politics and analyzed the economy while they waited for the announcement to start. After just a few seconds they listened into their in-ear microphones before cutting out to the empty podium with the Stickpage flag displayed on the wall in the background. A tall man walked into view. He stood behind the podium and smiled at the people gathered in front of him. He was very well-kept, wore a nice suit, and held his head up high.

"Who the fuck is this guy?" Gyodon asked waving an angry hand at the television. "I thought CrazyJay was going to speak!"

After a short pause the man onscreen speaks, "As I'm sure some of you have noticed, I am not CrazyJay. Not to worry though. TheSaw is here, and he will be speaking shortly. I, on the other hand, will be making some announcements here and now. I am Stone, the President of FluidAnims, and a strong long-time ally to Stickpage. I am here today, with your Vice-President, to announce what we believe to be mutually beneficial for both our countries. A merge, a union, a marriage. Our borders will be drawn off the maps, and our countries will become one. This will of course result in a change of federal laws to better suit both of our nations, and will also include a change in some political and government positions. Given time, we will strive together and Stickpage will again become one of the greater superpowers of the world."

TheSaw stepped up to the podium beside Stone and added, "I realize this may seem odd at first to everybody. But I assure you, it is best for Stickpage. CrazyJay and I have gone over this with our friends from FluidAnims here for quite a while. I would ask of everybody to please treat our new citizens with the same respect and kindness you show each other."

"Well... I didn't see that coming." Jeremy says taking a drink from his glass.
"So wait. FluidAnims is coming in and changing OUR laws to fit them better? Am I getting this right?" Gyodon asks turning to Jeremy for confirmation.
"Yeah, that sounds about right. You know, I don't mind them coming in here, but leave our shit alone, man." Jeremy explains, "We haven't even fully recovered from the reset yet."
"I think it could help us quite a bit." A voice piped up from a table in the back of the bar, "Not sure how I feel about them taking office though."
"Zed? What are you doing here?" Jeremy asks, recognizing the voice from TV years ago.
"This is my Friday pub. I drink here every Friday." Zed replies, brandishing a half empty bottle of gin.
"I thought I smelled an old washed-up politician come in a while ago." Gyodon says turning on the barstool to face him, "Sounds like somebody's a little sour about their old position being handed over to these FAgs."
"Hey, I'm no-" Zed begins, before being interrupted.
"Oh no. Fuck that. FUCK that. This is OUR country. WE hold the power here, not these fucking immigrants." Gyodon yells, nearly knocking over his drink, "We should petition this shit! What do you think Jeremy?" Jeremy sat silent for a moment, clearly thinking something over.

"I feel throwing a petition around wouldn't do much good about this, Gyodon." He finally says, rising from his seat. He places a few bills down next to his glass, and gathers his jacket, before signaling for Scarecrow and Gyodon to follow.
"Where are you dragging us to now?" Scarecrow questions, "I haven't even touched my drink yet."
"We're going to my place, we have something to discuss."

Jeff knocks on the wall next to the open door of his boss' new office in the Stickpage capital building. Located on the fourteenth floor, the office provides a nice view of Stickpaeg, the capital city, and some of the neighboring cities and suburbs. There wasn't much of a countryside, some small patches here and there between suburbs that were used for farming. Most of the larger cities just blended into one another making it quite easy to enter another city without even noticing. "Looks like you've moved in pretty nicely." Jeff mentions, approaching the windows, "You have quite the view up here Mr. President."

"Technically I'm no longer a president. You don't need to keep referring to me that way, Jeff." Stone insists, lifting himself from his chair and standing alongside his friend and subordinate, as he gazes out across the cities. "And yes, the view is pretty remarkable. But I'm sure you didn't come here just to tell me that. What's going on?"

"Well, its been a couple days since you've made the big announcement."
"Yeah, and? We already know about the few groups protesting the change. They will give up, and see the light in things soon enough. They shouldn't be anything to worry about." Stone assures him.
"But there is one man, he's come to speak to you about the change. I have him waiting in the hallway, I think you need to hear what he has to say."
"Alright. Call him in." Stone says, turning away from the window. Standing behind his desk, he readies the intercom to call security, before sternly placing his hands down in front of him.
Jeff briefly exits the room. Upon reentry, he is accompanied by a sharply dressed man, who only takes a few steps into the office before stopping.

"What can I do for you sir?" Stone intently asks the stranger, giving him a quick look over.
"It's a pleasure to meet you sir, my name is Jeremy." He responds.
"Nice to meet you Jeremy. You apparently already know who I am. I was told you had something to tell me?"
"I do. I have here a list here of terms. Regarding the merge, and FluidAnims place in our society." Jeremy says, pulling a piece of paper from his pocket.
"What are these terms?"
"Here." Jeremy hands the paper to Jeff, who in turn walks across the office to place it on Stone's desk. Stone pulls it to edge of the desk, before picking it up and unfolding it.
"These are some pretty serious demands here Jeremy. Restricting government positions to original Stickpage civilians? Segregating our cultural influences from the rest of the country? I'm sorry, but none of this is going to happen."
"It will happen. If you don't make it, we will. We don't mind you coming into our country, but none of your officials will hold any power here. We'll see to anybody that does."
"What it sounds like you're suggesting, would be an act of war. You look like a smart man Jeremy, I find it hard to believe you would do anything so brash." Stone says crumpling the paper up and tossing it into the trashcan at the side of his desk.
"We're men of action. You have our terms, and you know there will be consequences if they're not met. I think our business here is done." Jeremy says, still standing near the door.
"Jeff, have this man escorted out of here." Stone insists, nodding towards Jeremy.
Jeff steps into the hall and calls a security guard over. After patting Jeremy over the shoulder and leading him out of the office, the guard guides him down the hall, toward the elevators.

"What do you think?" Jeff asks, stepping back into the office.
"I think he's bluffing. There's nothing he can do to stop the merge." Stone assures him, turning back to the view of the cities.


Part 2

Stone sits behind the stage setup in the middle of Park Central, waiting for TheSaw to call his name. Three gigantic screens set up on the back wall obstruct the public's view of the speakers getting prepared in the back, as well as give the crowd a better view of the current speaker. A week after the big announcement, Stone and TheSaw were finally announcing the first newly promoted public official, to serve as one of the main lawmakers. The assembly drew in a slightly larger crowd than they had anticipated, likely due to the recent rumors of FluidAnims taking or replacing most of the positions being opened. These rumors of course, were true. Jombo, chosen for his service as a police officer in FluidAnims, was being inducted into office today. Stone approached the new official, and handed him some cue cards to read when its his turn to speak. Stone will be introducing him as soon as TheSaw is done speaking and calls him up.

"You'll be fine." Stone tells Jombo, patting him on the back. "Just keep to the cards until you've got some more speeches under your belt."
"Thanks, I appreciate this promotion." Jombo says, skimming over the cards and mentally preparing himself for facing a large crowd for the first time.
"Well I know you've served us well in the past. I know you won't let us down here." Stone reassures him, just before he's called up to the stage.

"Stone, you're up." His assistant yells from the side of the stage. Stone hops up the steps and around one of the tall speakers, to now face the mass of Stickpage citizens crowded in front of the stage. "Whoa, the crowd’s a lot bigger than it was when I peeked out earlier" he thought to himself as he made his way to the podium.

"All yours, Stone." TheSaw says, handing him the microphone.
"Thank you 'Saw." Stone nods, before taking his position behind the podium. "Hello again Stickpage. Today I will be introducing a man that has served us well on the streets of FluidAnims as a police officer. He has proved himself time and time again, and as a former cop, he has a lot of experience with laws, order, and justice. I believe he will make a fine addition to the panel of law advisers. Please everybody, give a big hand to the man we've come here for today, Jombo."

Jombo nervously steps up onto the stage, and peers out across the crowd. Handing the microphone over to Jombo. Stone and TheSaw take position to the far left of the stage as Jombo approaches the podium.

"So uh, hello everybody." Jombo flips through the cue cards trying to find the first one again. After finding it, he clears his throat, and begins reading. "I'm sure some of you are skeptical about outsiders running certain aspects of your country, but I assure you, you're in good hands. FluidAnims ran like a well oiled mach-" Jombo was cut off mid-sentence by a loud pop from the speakers, followed by the three large screens behind him going blank. After a few seconds, part of a music track started blasting through the speakers. "We're not gonna take it! No, we ain't gonna take it! We're not gonna take it, anymore!" Jombo turned to see the Stickpage flag now displayed on all three monitors behind him "...what the hell?"

Stone yells to his assistant, "Fix this, shut the feed down!"
"I did!" The assistant yells back, holding up the laptop they were directing the feed from. "It's being controlled from somewhere else!"

The sound of an old misfiring V8 engine screamed over the music, from the far right of the stage. A large panel van roared through the park, kicking chunks of dirt and grass up from the rear tires. Old and rusted, the van swerves around a couple camera crewman, forcing the weight of the van to one side, almost to the point of tipping due to the worn suspension. The driver compensates, and slides the vehicle against the side of the stage. The impact shook the whole structure, knocking everybody on it off their feet. TheSaw falls against one of the speakers, catching himself from going over the edge. Jombo only makes it back up to one knee, before a man from the audience climbs onto the stage, shoves the security guard over the edge, and grabs Jombo from behind pressing a pistol to the side of his head. "Everybody stay back! Don't fucking move!" The man yells, his identity hidden by a pair of sunglasses and a baseball cap.

"What's going on here?!" Stone asks, throwing his hands up as he climbs back to his feet.
"Put the gun down, we can talk about this." TheSaw shouts over the speakers. "I said don't move mother fuckers! I will blow this FAgs head clear off!" shouts the gunman, pushing the pistol harder against Jombo's head. Smoke escapes into the air, as the back doors of the van are swung open. Many keyboards were mounted on the interior walls of the van, along with various sized monitors and countless cords. As the smoke fades, a long-haired man presses a key on one of the keyboards, before leaning out and removing a joint from his mouth. "Come on man, lets go! Get him in the damn van!"

"Oh, hell no." Jombo struggles to get away, until taking a hit to the temple, and falling back against his assailant. The gunman grabs his collar and quickly drags Jombo across the stage to the van, keeping the pistol focused on Stone and TheSaw. "Sorry 'Saw." He says, as Jombo is pulled into the van. The gunman throws TheSaw a quick salute, before following into the back, slamming the doors shut behind him as the van peels off.

"What was that all about?" Stone yells at TheSaw, waving towards the van as it peels across the park. "Who was that?! Why did he salute you?"
"That guy in the van looked like Scarecrow, he was an NTF back in the day. I didn't recognize the other guy." TheSaw responds, watching security scramble into a dark SUV. The engine fired up and took off across the field in pursuit.

"Good job with that little message, Scarecrow. Love that song." Gyodon says, patting him on the shoulder.
"I thought it was appropriate."
"Got the mother fucker?" A voice asks from the drivers seat of the van.
"Got him, he's out cold. What exactly was Jeremy planning to do with him?" Gyodon replies.
"No idea. I don't think there's much of a plan after the initial 'We don't take no shit' message he gave to Stone." #32 says, as he drifts the van off the grass of Park Central, and onto one of the main highways of Stickpaeg City. The engine sputters and backfires as #32 floors the accelerator, speeding past the other vehicles in the thirty-five mile per hour zone. "By the way, you guys better tie that bitch up before he comes to." he adds, tossing a roll of duct-tape back. "Dont need him choking out the driver or some shit, right?"
"Better you than us." Scarecrow jokes, binding Jombo's wrists. Before he's able to tie up his feet, the van suddenly jerks forward, knocking Scarecrow up against the the back of #32's seat.
"The fuck was that?" #32 yells back, regaining control of the swerving vehicle.
"It's that SUV from the speech, must be security." Gyodon says, peering out the back window, as he cocks his pistol.
"Well, get rid of them asshole!"
"Shut the fuck up and drive! We'll take care of the van." Gyodon insists, unlatching one of the rear doors, as the SUV backs off to ram them again.

Grabbing hold of the handle on the other door, Gyodon leans out, and fires a couple rounds at the driver. The bullets ricocheted off the bullet-proof windshield, doing nothing but scaring the hell out of the apparently rookie driver. "Fuckin-A." Gyodon grumbles, "Windshield is bullet-proof!". After taking a pot-shot at the front tires, the SUV swerves a couple feet onto the curb, and then back, ramming into the side of the van. Gyodon slips out the door, losing his gun onto the highway. He would have followed it, had it not been for Scarecrow grabbing his jacket. After pulling Gyodon safely back into the van, Scarecrow opens a drawer under one of the computer monitors, and removes a long-barreled revolver. "Holy shit son, what do you need a gun like that for?" Gyodon asks, shocked at the size of the firearm. "You never know when you'll be chased by an SUV full of angry FAgs." Scarecrow replies, loading five fifty-caliber rounds into the cylinder of the Magnum Research BFR. "Alright then, lets see if you can actually hold this piece of shit steady, #32." Scarecrow snaps the cylinder back into place and takes a knee near the rear door, as he draws the BFR. One pull of the trigger punches a large hole through both, the radiator and engine block of the SUV, spraying coolant and steam from under of the hood and the front wheel wells. The SUV pulls to the right, colliding with another vehicle, which spins off onto the sidewalk and into one of the shop windows. Scarecrow follows a front tire with the ironsight atop the revolver, and squeezes the trigger one more time. The tire bursts, trailing the SUV hard to the right, smashing into a lightpost and flipping it on end.

"FUCK YEAH! FUCK! YEAH! Eat it mother fuckers!" Gyodon yells out the door.
"Damn, I forgot the kick this baby had." Scarecrow says stretching his arm and falling back onto the bench.
"Man, your a fucking pussy." #32 says looking back from the drivers seat, as he flies through a highway intersection, just before a hard impact throws the van onto its side. Shattered glass fills the cabin and the van rolls over onto the roof. The vehicle slides across the intersection and through a glass enclosed bus stop. "Move, move!" FluidAnims police forces pour out of the APC that collided with them, and have the van surrounded, sub-machine guns drawn, before the van even comes to a complete stop.


Part 3

The courtroom was a full house, people were lined up against the back wall because there were no seats left. Everybody was there, the new FluidAnim politicians, members of law enforcement, friends of the three on trial. Jombo sat in the first row of benches, bruised and battered from the accident, but brave enough to face his captors.

"These three, #32, Scarecrow, and Gyodon, have been charged with first degree assault and battery, kidnapping, damage to public property, reckless driving, possession of a controlled substance, and conspiracy." The judge says facing the crowded courtroom before shooting the jury a glance. "Has the jury come to a verdict on these charges?"

The jury, made up primarily of new FluidAnim citizens, just returned from a record breaking short deliberation.
"Yes we have your honor." A juror spoke up as he stood in the corner. "We, the jury, find all three defendants guilty of all charges, and we recommend the max sentence allowed by law."
"I understand." The judge said. "I hereby sentence Scarecrow and #32 to 30 years without parole. And Gyodon,” he pauses “...I exile from Stickpage, effective tomorrow at twelve noon. Gyodon is to be escorted outside of Stickpage tomorrow morning, and is prohibited from re-entering its borders."

Gavel sounds, making it official.

"Shit." Scarecrow says out loud.
"Jeus..." Jeremy mumbled, as the room fell silent. The sentences were much worse than initially anticipated. Sitting in the back, he lowered his head, trying to contemplate a new course of action.
"Oh fuck no!" Gyodon shouts at the biased jury. "This is not over! I will be back. SPP FOREV-" Gyodon is interrupted by a bailiff grabbing his arm and pulling him out of his chair. "Calm down sir and lets go."
"Man get the fuck off me!" Gyodon shoves the bailiff away, before taking a botan hit to the back the head by another guard. "Everyone clear out! There's nothing left to see."

The courtroom fills with a roar of chatter and footsteps, as people stand to head to the exit. Jeremy stands from his seat and heads to the other side of the courtroom. He carefully examines everybodies face as he passes, to make sure he doesn't miss who he's looking for. Sure enough, his target still sits in the bench, waiting for the crowd to die down before even attempting to leave.

"Ashlander." Jeremy addresses the man as he approaches.
"Hey, what’s up Jeremy?" He replies.
"You were in the military weren't you?"


The next day...

"Bring him in." The jailhouse warden says, holding the visiting room door open. "Scarecrow, you're in booth fourteen. You have five minutes."

A prison guard tugs Scarecrow through the doorway by a chain fastened to the handcuffs binding his hands in front of him. Scarecrow notices Gyodon sitting in booth number nine. He was speaking to a man he had never seen before, who spoke in broken english. It was safe to assume he was a foreigner, which was odd. Scarecrow wasn't aware that Gyodon knew anybody outside Stickpage. A few booths later he had arrived at fourteen. The prison guard latched his end of the chain to the wall of the booth, before allowing Scarecrow to sit and wait for his visiter.

"Well... that almost worked. What was the plan after getting T-boned by the APC." Jeremy speaks up as he steps into his side of the booth. He takes his seat and waves his hand at the guard, as if to shoo him away, before focusing on Scarecrow through the bullet-proof glass.
"Yeah, well you can thank #32's fancy driving for that." Scarecrow responds. "What are you going to do to get us out of here?"
"There isn't anything I can do. It's out of my hands. I'll see if I can persuade the right people to get you guys a parole hearing early, thats about all I can do." Jeremy says, standing up.
"Wait, thats it? You're just going to leave us in here?"
"Hey!" Jeremy yells shoving his seat into the booth, drawing attention from the surrounding visitors, "...We were going to deal with the FA occupation as a team. You guys ran off on your own and did a GREAT job at fucking everything up. Things will have to wait until you two are released. Hopefully that's sooner than later with good behavior. Tell #32 I'll do what I can, but you two will likely be here for a while. Gyodon, I can do nothing for."

Jeremy turns away and heads towards the exit. "Yes, I know where the fucking door is, asshole." Jeremy assures the guard who gestures towards the door.

"...Guard!" Scarecrow shouts, waiting to be brought back to his cell.
"What did the Jer' say?" Gyodon asks, as Scarecrow is escorted past him.
"We're fucked, basically, is what he said." Scarecrow replies, looking into Gyodon's booth. His visitor was gone as well.
"I see. His loyalties lie with the cause, not his friends."


Part 4

“You don’t need to go Jombo. We have plenty of other guys that can come.” says Oxob, who is leading the escort team.
“I know, but at the moment I’m still a cop. It’s my duty, and I want people to know that this kind of behavior won’t just scare us away.” Jombo says, pulling his combat boots on. Both men are dressed in black tactical gear, as are the other few officers still prepping in the locker room. An MP5 rests on the bench at Jombo's side, loaded with rubber bullets. “Alright. They’re bringing the prisoner out soon. I’m going to go brief the rest of team.” Oxob says sliding his 9mm pistol into its holster. He grabs his own MP5 from the gun cabinet, before patting Jombo on the shoulder and heading down the hall. After getting suited up, Jombo heads to the garage, where he finds the police van he’ll be riding in. He hears Gyodon before he can even see him “Stop yanking on my chains mother fucker! I can fucking walk!” Gyodon is pulled out of an elevator and into the garage by two officers, then lead to the back of the van. Gyodon spits on one of their uniforms before stepping up into the back, “...ya fucking, fucks.” Jombo steps up into the van behind him, followed by the other two officers. Oxob enters the garage followed by about 15 others in setup in riot gear and armed with MP5s and bean bag loaded shotguns. He signals one of the officers, who quickly gets into a squad car, and pulls ahead of the van. Oxob and the rest will be walking beside the vehicles to fend off any interferences. The officer in the car hits the garage door opener, and the large steel door slowly rises.

A large crowd is gathered outside the exit, shouting and throwing their fists in the air. It quickly grew too loud for conventional communication amongst each other, though that could partially be contributed to by the echoing throughout the garage. “Let him go!” and “Go back to FA!” were common shouts from the crown, many protesters used more colorful variants. Worried that things will get out of control, Oxob orders his men to ready their weapons. One man takes a step into the garage and throws an empty bottle at one of the officers, then takes a bean bag shot to the chest, knocking him back into the crowd. The act of violence just enrages the crowd even more.

“Oh man…” sighs Oxob, “I should’ve been in the truck.”
“Sergeant?” One of the other officers looks questionably at him.
“Move out.” He replies, keeping the MP5 readied.

The crowd dispersed a little when the police started advancing. The squad car pulled out slowly, followed by the van, and surrounded by the armed officers. The crowd splits to the sides of the street, keeping distance from the FluidAnim cops. “At least they’re making a hole for us…” Oxob thinks to himself, before getting on the radio and telling them to bring more officers out.

Gyodon sits in the back of the van, peering at the crowd through the windows “You see those people out there? They will never give in to you guys. You clowns will never amount to anything here.” Gyodon taunts Jombo from his chains.
“We will be doing more than you while we’re here, I can assure you that, Gyodon.” Jombo says leaning against the back doors. “We’re not coming here to mess Stickpage up. Some of us don’t want it anymore than you do.”
“Yet, here you are. Messing things up. We were fine before you guys showed up.” Gyodon said, eyebrows ruffled.
“Your economy is failing. Your government barely has Stickpage under control. Crime is high. All because of one guy. Yeah, sounds like everything was fine.” Jombo glances out the window, “Outside, that is not because they care about you. That is because there is no order here.”

Sacred sat on a bench, closely watched by Stickpage immigration officers. He had just returned from exploring the ruins of StickSlaughter. The border has been closed to everybody except Stickpage and FluidAnims citizens until the merge is complete. Sacred, having lost his proof of citizenship during his trip, had to call an old friend to come and help him get through.

“Hey, Sacred. How’s it going?” Devour says, walking down the hall towards him.
“Sup, Dev. Sorry about all this man. They just won’t let me in without some kind of proof.”
“It’s cool man. I did like you said and picked up some of the mail from your house to show you’re a resident.”

Devour handed a couple envelopes showing Sacreds name and address to one of the immigration officers. The officer looked them over, stamped Sacred’s papers, and waved him up the counter. “Are you two brothers?” He asks, stuffing everything into a folder and handing it to Sacred. “No, we’re not.” They both say, almost in unison.

After leaving the immigration office the two of them get into a taxi. “Take us to central Stickpaeg, please.” Devour says, sliding into the cab first.

“What’s going on? People seem pretty uptight right now. And why are the borders closed?” Sacred asks after closing the door. The taxi gets onto the main freeway leading into the city.
“You havent heard? Stickpage is merging with FluidAnims. Everybody is talking about it, most of them are pissed.”
“What? Why would they do that? How do you feel about it? Are they being pretty cool?” Sacred asks, shocked at the news.
“Honestly, as long as they can become productive members of society here, I don’t really mind.” Devour answers with a shrug.
“What about Snowy? How does she like it?”
“Snowy?” Devour pauses, “Snowy died on a cruiseship last year. Nobody really knows what happened.”
“Oh shit, man. Im sorry, I didnt know.” Sacred says, putting his hand to his forehead. This really isn't turning out to be the cab ride he was expecting. “How are you taking that?”
“Well, it was a while ago, I’ve accepted it.” The two sat in silence for what seemed like much longer than ten minutes.
“Hey… you guys are, eh… twins? Yes?” The foreign taxi driver asks into the rear view mirror, breaking the silence. Sacred and Devour just glance at each other with a grin.
“Yeah man. We’re twins.” Sacred says, expecting it to shut him up.
“So you like… can mind speak. Yeah?” Sacred and Devour both facepalm into their windows.

The taxi exits off the freeway, and after turning into downtown Stickpaeg, is forced to a stop. The road is blocked by large groups of people stretching across the street. They are held at bay by police officers in riot gear standing behind orange wooden barricades. A squad car leads a police van down the road behind them with armed guards on either side. Devour throws a twenty dollar bill up to the driver and tells him to just drop them off there. After getting out of the cab the two approach the crowd.

“Whats going on?” Devour shouts over the crowds roar.
“Gyodon got exiled. They’re taking him to the border now.” a man to their left yells back.
“What the hell? Exiled?” Sacred says.
“It’s those damn FAgs. They’re getting rid of anyone who doesn’t agree with them.” the man yells again.
“How can they do that? I thought CrazyJay or TheSaw had to approve an exile. I doubt they’d approve of that for whatever Gyodon did.” Sacred says to Devour.
“Well, they did approve it. Alot has changed while you’ve been gone.”

The escort convoy reached the border by 2:30 in the afternoon. “Better late than never…” Jombo says in the back of the van. “Speak for yourself.” Gyodon snaps at him. The back doors swing open and Oxob stands with a key for his chains, “Get out, this is your stop. Hope you got a ride somewhere.” Gyodon steps down. He notices most of the armed escorts are gone, probably detached after they left the hostile cities. “You’ve caused quite a stir, I hope your proud.” Oxob says, undoing Gyodon’s chains. Gyodon steps off to the side of the van to see a long chain link fence. In front of the van sits a building with a gate to the east side, which the road follows out. The cities of Newgrounds are faintly visible in the distance, much closer to the border then Stickpage’s. The road forks a few miles out and heads off to the south towards 4chan. There are a couple vehicles parked in the small parking lot in front of the building. The people who work there must live in one of the small nearby towns, otherwise they would have a very lengthy commute. One of the vehicles parked in the lot doesn’t fit in with the rest. It’s an old, battered, and rusty truck of a make and model not commonly seen in Stickpage.

“Good. That shifty son of a bitch IS here.” Gyodon says stepping towards the lot. The four officers stand and watch Gyodon enter the vehicle as the border’s gate is raised.


Part 5

In his small residence just outside of downtown Stickpaeg, Jeremy waits in his kitchen with a handful of guests for the last of them to arrive. His property is modest and middle class; his neighbors are close, yards are small, and there’s hardly any room for parking.

There’s a knock at the door.
“Come on in,” Jeremy calls out.
Zed opens the door and steps inside, slightly damp due to the storm. He hangs his coat on the rack near the door, next to Ashlander’s leather jacket.
“I see Ash has made it,” he says, stepping into the kitchen to find Jeremy standing behind a granite island counter, Ashlander to his right, and CMPunk sitting around the corner. 2-D and General Douchington stood opposite Jeremy, their backs towards Zed.
“Am I the last arrival?” Zed asks, taking a spot at the corner of the island counter next to 2-D. “What did you call us here for?”
Jeremy takes a glance around before responding.
“Actually, we’re missing a couple people still. But who knows, they might not even show up. I’ll just start now and get straight to the point.”
Jeremy places his index finger in the center of the countertop. “We need to take a stand against what FluidAnims is trying to do. I don’t mind them coming into our country, but our government will remain our government. We need to show them that they can’t just march in here and start changing things.”

“Skip to it man, what are we doing?” General Douchington impatiently asks.
Jeremy rolls his eyes. “Well... first, we’re going to break Scarecrow and #32 out of prison.”
“Oh,” General Douchington says, with a nod of approval pressing his eyebrows, “Sweet.”
“And… how are we going to do that, exactly?” Ashlander asks skeptically.
“Well. I can have some basic tools smuggled to them, so they can at least get out of their cells by themselves,” Jeremy replies, scratching his forehead lightly, “Getting them out of the jail on the other hand… I was kind of hoping you could figure that out - given your history.”
“Alright... well, the entrances and exits will be heavily guarded obviously...” Ashlander replies, pausing to think for a moment. “Maybe through the sewers?”
General Douchington pipes up. “Man, listen to this guy. Through the sewers? Like we’re fucking ninja turtles or something?”
2-D cocks his head. “What’s wrong? You afraid of getting dirty? You should at least be used to the odor.”
“Shut up, faggot.”
“That’s enough,” Jeremy orders, “Do you have a better idea Douchington?”
“Can’t we just like… skydive in or some shit?” General Douchington shrugs.
Jeremy squeezes his temples lightly, “With what? We don’t have a pla-”
“No… he’s right,” Ashlander interrupts, “We can drop onto the roof. Then we can easily access the building through the stairwell access doors, or if we must the elevator shafts. Rooftop utility rooms tend not to be secured too well.”
“But where are we going to get the plane?” 2-D interjects.
“We don’t need a plane. We’ll use a helicopter. I know a guy that may be able to help. He was the chopper pilot in my MOD unit back in Power-Fusion… and if we’re lucky, he might be able to get his hands on some hardware.” Ashlander says.
“What’s a MOD unit?” General Douchington questioned.
“Mobile Operations Division,” Ashlander answered, turning his head towards him, “was a special sector within Power-Fusion’s special operations group. It was eventually adopted by many other nations. We had to be prepared to strike anyplace, from anywhere, at any time. We typically had 24 hours to deploy to our destination as a unit. Stickpage had it’s own at one point called the Defense Team. But you guys all know how that went.”

“So where is this guy?” Jeremy asks, mildly surprised at where the conversation has turned.
“He… “ Ashlander pauses, choosing his words carefully. “He fell off the grid after a failed operation. But, I know where he is.”
“Alright then. Follow that up ASAP,” Jeremy says, before turning back to the rest of the group.
“What about TheRisen? We gunna assassinate him or what?” CMPunk yells, jumping up against the island, garnering a apprehensive stares from Jeremy, Ashlander, and Zed.
“The fuck you talkin’ about, CMPunk?” General Douchington counters.
“Don’t you see? Stone, is TheRisen! First the reset, now the merge! This has been his plan all along!” CMPunk shouts, slamming a fist down on the counter enthusiastically.
“CMPunk…” Jeremy with hand still gripping the bridge of his nose, “Stone is not TheRisen.”
“It can’t be a coincide-!”
“No, CMPunk,” Jeremy interrupts sternly, already growing tired of CMPunks conspiratorial ramblings. “It is a coincidence. Now, back to logic please. We break Scarecrow and #32 out. Show them they can’t contain us. Then we send some sort of national message, making it known to the entire country that FA holds no power here.”
“What kind of message are you think-” Ashlander starts, before suddenly cutting himself off and quickly turning his head as he hears a familiar metallic clink. There’s a moment of silence before he turns back and raises his voice, “EVERYBODY GET DO-”

A loud bang rings through everybody's ears as the kitchen fills with light grey smoke. The group falls away from the countertop, all reacting violently. Ashlander holds his breath, taking sharp short inhalations through his mouth. Jeremy covers his face and backs up hard against his fridge. 2-D falls to a knee and coughs repeatedly as the tear gas enters his lungs.

A crash and the sound of shattered glass is heard. Gasmask-equipped men in black tactical gear, still hardly visible in the smoke, burst in through the kitchen windows. The first one in clocks CMPunk in the forehead with the stock of his MP5. With his eyes watering, Ashlander reaches for the toaster. The second man who enters notices Ashlander with the toaster over his head. He lifts his shotgun and sends a beanbag to the side of his ribs, dropping the toaster as he’s knocked back into the cabinets. General Douchington backs into one of the men, then collapses after getting hit in the back of the head with a stock.
“Knock them all out!” Ashlander hears someone command, as he struggles to pull himself up with one arm up on the counter. A combat boot suddenly connects with his face.


Jeremy wakes with a start, and quickly realises that he is tied down to one if his own dining room chairs. A slim man stands before him, with his mask removed. He glances around the room. The lights are off, but the storm outside seems to have died off, letting the moonlight shine through the windows enough to lightly illuminate the living room. His eyesight is slightly blurred, but he can make out some of his guests in the dark. Ashlander was standing, handcuffed to the radiator mounted on the hallway wall. CMPunk was tied to a chair as well, still unconscious and drool dribbling from his mouth. General Douchington and 2-D looked at him from their own chairs, against the opposite wall. He didn’t see Zed anywhere. Another armed man stands near them, and Jeremy can hear two more speaking from the kitchen.

“What the hell is going on?” Jeremy demands.

“WarCorrespondent, he’s up,” The man in front of him relays. A taller, bulkier, and generally more intimidating man steps out from the kitchen, “Thank you, Cavalier.”
He grabs the lamp from the corner of the living room and drags it over with him, placing it in front of Jeremy. The lamp is switched on and Jeremy looks away as its tilted down towards his face.
“Do you know why we’re here Jeremy?” he begins.
“You wanted to participate in beer pong,” Jeremy sarcastically replies, before taking a hard hit to the stomach, forcing him to buckle over in his chair.
“Hey, asshole!” Ashlander yells from the radiator.
“Cavalier, shut him up please. He’ll have his turn soon enough,” WarCorrespondent orders, pointing toward Ashlander.
Cavalier steps into the kitchen for a second, before heading towards Ashlander with a roll of black duct tape, “Oh hey, you must be his little bit-” Cavalier cuts him off with a strip of tape to the mouth, when something catches his eye.
“Hey WarCorrespondent, it looks like we have a war hero here.”
He removes a chain from Ashlander’s neck. Instead of dogtags, the chain is fed through the ribbon of a Power-Fusion Medal of Honor, which is usually kept beneath his shirt and out of sight.
“Interesting,” WarCorrespondent raises an eyebrow, briefly shifting his focus to Ashlander, “Now, what use would you have for somebody like that Jeremy?”
Jeremy glances toward Ashlander, his mouth taped, and trying to pull the radiator from the wall.
“He’s good at beer pong.” He receives another strong hit, this time more towards the kidney. “I see… ” WarCorrespondent leans back, rubbing his knuckles, “…and why did you ask him about his military history at the courthouse?”
Jeremy’s eyebrows furrowed. How did he know that?
A short pause ensued, “I heard veterans were good at beer pong.”
WarCorrespondent gives him another powerful hit to the stomach, buckling Jeremy over once again.
“I’m going to share something with you Jeremy,” WarCorrespondent leans in, “You’ve been under surveillance for quite some time now. We know every move you’ve made. You didn’t think you could just threaten Stone, the former president of FluidAnims, and new Stickpage vice president, and not have tabs kept on you, did you?” Jeremy is still trying to catch his breath. “If you cooperate we can keep this civil. But I’m losing my patience. So what’s the plan? There’s got to be other groups organizing out there. Who, and where, are they?”

Jeremy is finally able to clear his throat. “What do you mean, new vice president? TheSaw is our vice president.”
“TheSaw is resigning,” WarCorrespondent says bluntly. Jeremy widens his eyes with rage.
“I warned him about this… “ Jeremy whispers, lowering his head in anger, “Tell Stone he’s going to have a short term.”
Jeremy braces himself for another strike, but it doesn’t come. Instead, WarCorrespondent steps away, towards the kitchen doorway where he picks up two metal prongs from the floor with thick wire leads coming in from the kitchen. He taps the prongs together, causing sparks to light up the entire room with a loud crack for split seconds at a time. As soon as he returns to Jeremy, he shoves both prongs into his chest. Jeremy, being tied down, had no way to struggle free, and no means of defence. His muscles tense and he shakes violently in his chair, nearly breaking his teeth from clamping down so hard before letting out a sharp yell.

Five long seconds later the prongs were removed. Light smoke trailed from the two contact points.
“500 milliamps,” WarCorrespondent explains, leering. “Not enough to kill you… hopefully. Just enough to make you wish it did.”
General Douchington lunges forward in his chair, “What the fuck man! Are you crazy?!”
The armed man next to him punches Douchington in the jaw, “Touch me again faggot!” he shouts again, recoiling. This time he receives the stock end of an MP5 in the gut, knocking the wind out of him. Jeremy can only hear the commotion, still blinded by the lamp.

“Answer the questions Jeremy,” WarCorrespondent presses, ignoring the outburst from Douchington.
“Go fuck yourself FAg,” Jeremy returns, looking into the light. The prongs crack loudly and spark as they are pressed against his chest again. He grabs the ends of the chair involuntarily as his muscles contract again. Five seconds. Ten Seconds. Bubbles of saliva begin to squeeze out from in between his teeth.
Cavalier interjects, “Sir? Maybe we should just bring them into headquarters for questioning?”
WarCorrespondent removes the prongs, leaving a trail of smoke and the faint smell of burnt flesh in the air. “No, I think I know something else that’ll work. Bring him in.” WarCorrespondent gestures toward the kitchen. Jeremy hears some shuffling, followed by a thud. The lamp is turned away from his face, and towards a figure on his knees. His eyesight still blotchy from the light, it takes a couple of seconds for Jeremy to realize who it is. Zed sits in front of him, forced to his knees. His mouth is taped, he’s blindfolded, and his hands are bound behind his back.
“What’s this?” Jeremy mutters angrily, panting.

“Your friend Zed here, wasn’t going to join you,” WarCorrespondent informs, “He’s not against the merge. Like you, he would prefer if things stayed the same. But he isn’t against change. At this point, he’s just an innocent bystander, ” he removes the blindfold and tape, “Right Zed?”
“Yeah…” Zed lingers, trying not to make eye contact, “I just showed up tonight to see what you had to say. But… I don’t think it’s worth the fight…”
Jeremy looks at Zed confused, but reverts his attention back to the interrogator, “What’s your point, asshole?”
“My point, Jeremy…” WarCorrespondent unfolds Zed’s blindfold into a large thick cloth, “…is to see if you’ll let the citizens of Stickpage suffer for the sake of your mission.”
“What?” Zed and Jeremy say in unison.

WarCorrespondent yanks Zed’s head back by his hair, and drops the cloth over his face. The man that brought him out comes back with a couple large jugs of water, sets them down, and lifts one over Zed’s face. WarCorrespondent trades a glance with Jeremy, before nodding to the other guy, who begins pouring water over the cloth.

Water splashes everywhere, soaking the man’s pants and shoes. The flowing water and soaked cloth over Zed’s face effectively prevent him from drawing in air. Zed struggles as he tries to breathe without inhaling water, only to be pulled back harder by his hair. Jeremy sits in silence, glancing at 2-D and General Douchington, who keep silent as well.
“Answer the questions Jeremy. Or are the answers more important than Zed here?”
The first jug empties, and the second one is raised up. Cavalier grabs the empty jug and wanders off into the kitchen to refill it. Zed gargles loudly again as more water is poured back over his face.

Halfway through the second jug, a loud clank is heard from the kitchen. The pouring stops as all listen. All except Zed, who gasps for air while simultaneously falling into a coughing fit. WarCorrespondent takes the water jug and orders his subordinate to investigate.

The second he steps into the kitchen, a large metal trash can is slammed down over his head, and he is pushed out of the way as Sacred and Devour burst into the room screaming. Devour charges at WarCorrespondent with one of the kitchen chairs, slamming it into his face and knocking him away from Zed. The wooden chair splinters into pieces above Zed’s head, and the loss of WarCorrespondent’s grip causes him to fall to his back. Sacred grabs the officer’s shotgun and runs straight to Ashlander, ripping the tape from his face. “Sorry we’re late.”
“Trust me, it worked out better this way!” Ashlander replies, relieved. “Hurry, help me pull the radiator from the wall!” After setting the shotgun down, Sacred joins Ashlander in pulling at the corner of the radiator he’s chained to with every ounce of strength they have.

Devour manages to untie General Douchington before a guard grabs him from behind. General Douchington quickly gets up, and slams his metal chair over the guard’s head. Devour wastes no time, and moves to free the others.

Cavalier re-enters the room with a stumble, rubbing his head, not completely aware of all the commotion. WarCorrespondent manages to get back to his feet, just as the radiator breaks free. The officer in the kitchen throws the trash can off to the side and charges towards Devour, who has just finished freeing 2-D and CMPunk. Ashlander dives for the shotgun and sends a beanbag into his back, knocking him to the floor. After climbing back to his feet, Ashlander then points the shotgun at Cavalier, who raises his arms, “Whoa, whoa, dont shoot!”

WarCorrespondent grabs his MP5 from against the wall and takes aim toward Devour, who was now working on Jeremy, but freezes as he hears a shout from Ashlander’s side of the room. “Stop! Lower your weapon now!”
He turns to find Cavalier held up in front of Ashlander, who is aiming Cavalier’s sidearm at WarCorrespondent. Sacred stands beside him with the beanbag shotgun aimed at both the other officers.
WarCorrespondent scoffs. “Those are non-lethal rounds. That gun is loaded only with rubber bullets,” he states, moving to aim at Sacred and Ashlander, “We are wearing armor. Think about your next move carefully.”
“Alright,” Ashlander replies, shifting the gun to Cavalier’s head, “even rubber bullets will pierce his skull and scramble his brain fired from point blank.”

WarCorrespondent pauses for a second - a second too long. The silence is abruptly broken by a loud crack from the electrical prongs as Jeremy - freed during WarCorrespondent’s stand off with Ashlander - jams them into his neck, sending him to the ground. Jeremy tosses the prongs aside, then kicks him in the ribs for good measure.

“Come on, let’s go!” Devour shouts, heading out the front door. Jeremy peels the wet cloth off Zed’s face, slings his arm over his shoulders, and pulls him to his feet. Ashlander and Sacred stay at the doorway with Cavalier, holding the rest of the SWAT team at bay as everybody else follows Devour.
“Don’t move!” Ashlander yells pressing the gun hard against Cavalier’s skull. A loud diesel engine fires up outside. Ashlander peeks out, to find their APC pulling up with Devour leaning out the back door. Ashlander roughly pulls Cavalier towards the APC. Sacred follows, and quickly helps Ashlander to shove Cavalier into the vehicle, before the two of them climb in after him.

WarCorrespondent and the other two officers rush out of Jeremy’s house, firing on the APC just as the back door closes. The rubber bullets ricochet uselessly off the steel sides as the diesel engine roars, billowing black smoke from the exhaust as it accelerates down the street.


Part 6

Stone stands facing the window, looking out over the city of Stickpaeg from his office in the capital building. Jombo and Oxob sit at a conference table to the side of the room. TheSaw and Jeff stand nearby.

“I hear they got away,” Stone says, turning to make eye contact with WarCorrespondent.
“They did. We had them restrained, but more of them showed up and attacked us during the interrogation,” he replies from the doorway, hands rested behind his back.
“And they took one of your men?” Stone takes a seat at the end of the conference table.
“Yes. They took Cavalier hostage and used him to escape. We were in too much disorientation to stop them.”
Stone thinks to himself for a moment, “They sound more capable than we thought,” closing his eyes with frustration.
“How much damage can five or six guys cause?” TheSaw asks.
“I believe there are other groups organising,” WarCorrespondent responds. “And they’ve recruited some former military personnel. A guy named Ashlander was there. We’re looking into who some of the others are-”
“He wasn’t Stickpage military,” TheSaw interrupts.
“You said Ashlander?” Jeff asks, with a surprised expression.
“Do you know him?” Stone asks.
“He lived in Shiftlimits four or five years ago,” the former president says, “Wasn’t expecting to find him here. Who else was there?”
WarCorrespondent tosses a manilla folder onto the table, containing the names of everybody from the meeting as well as some notes on each.
“Most of these guys are nobodies,” TheSaw informs, pulling a few of the papers toward him, until one catches his eye. “Zed was there?”
“He’s one of your old leaders right?” Jombo asks, taking a look over his file.
“Yes, he was,” TheSaw replies, “I forced him and Index to resign, after we were forced to reset our economy. We didn’t have room for such incompetence after that. He’s just drowned himself in alcohol ever since, how much of a threat could he possibly be?”
“I don’t think he is, he’s just being strung along now,” WarCorrespondent says, “But he’ll still have information, so we should detain him if we get the chance.”
“What else did you learn before the others showed up?” Stone interrupts, wanting to get the important information. There’s time to go over each person’s file later.
“Not much. Before we broke into the house we overheard plans to get Scarecrow and #32 out of prison. Then Jeremy wants to send us a message.” WarCorrespondent says, “After we restrained them, they refused to cooperate. Jeremy seems to have taken the role of leader, but when we interrogated him all he did was dodge the questions.”
“He can be stubborn,” TheSaw chips in.
“We’ll have to increase security at the prison then.” Jombo suggests.
“I can have a couple teams wait on site. They’ll be ready if Jeremy makes a move there.” Oxob adds.
“Good plan.” Jeff says, closing the folder.
“WarCorrespondent, ” Stone begins to lecture. “I put you in charge of this situation because you’re the most experienced man we got. This is a small rag-tag team of insurgents who have already made public headlines with their actions. Although they’re small in numbers, they pose an immediate threat to what we’re trying to do here. I need to be able to trust that you will fix this mess. Do not let this problem grow. Else I’m going to have to hand control over to Oxob.”
“Trust me, Vice President,” WarCorrespondent insists. “Once they enter the prison, they won’t be leaving.”


Two days later…

The stolen FluidAnim APC sits in an alley underneath an overpass. Cavalier is restrained - ironically with FA’s own handcuffs - and under the careful watch of Devour. The group had found a few weapons mounted inside the APC, though (much to General Douchington’s dismay) they too, were of the non-lethal variety.

General Douchington walks out of of the corner gas station, identity hidden by a hoodie, with an armful of hotdogs for everybody. He is followed by a blonde woman wearing large sunglasses, carrying a case of bottled water, and CMPunk reading an issue of National Enquirer. The cover story was a cloud shaped like Satan, hinting at the forthcoming apocalypse.

Zed patiently waits in the APC for his requested bottle of gin from the liquor store across the street, as he’d be recognized by nearly anybody. The blonde woman gets into the front of the APC, while Jeremy hurries the other two into the back.
“Is that disguise really necessary?” Zed asks the woman in front.
“Hey, I can’t be too careful these days,” 2-D responds, removing the blonde wig and revealing his natural hair. Kind of digging the sunglasses, he opted to leave them on.
“Has he said anything?” Jeremy asks taking a seat next to Devour, across from their prisoner.
“Not much. He just mentioned he was a rookie. That’s about it,” he responds.
“Hey… “ Jeremy directs his attention to Cavalier, “We aren't going to hurt you. I’m not holding what happened at my house against you personally.”
Cavalier keeps his head down, choosing to not respond.
“How long have you been in SWAT?”
“Two weeks before the merge was announced…” Cavalier answers reluctantly.
“So about a month. Do you have a family?” Jeremy asks, receiving a nod, “Cooperate with us, and I promise you will see your family again.”
“What do you want from me?” Cavalier asks.
“I just want to know some things about that WarCorrespondent guy.”
“I don’t know him personally,” Cavalier sidesteps.
“Well do you know anything?” Jeremy presses.
“A little. I know he was undercover with some pirate gang or mob or something in FluidAnims a few years ago. He ended up getting disavowed for a year after he failed and got some ship sunk. He’s only been back for about six months.”
“What? A few years ago?” Devour says, his interest suddenly peaking, “That ship. Was it a cruiseship?”
“That sounds about right. Why?” Cavalier asks, curious as to why it’d matter to anybody here.
Devour sat in silence, slowly swelling with anger.
“Devour,” Sacred pipes up, “Can we talk outside for a sec?”
Devour looks over at Jeremy for permission.
“It’s fine I got him,” Jeremy assures, “But don’t take too long.”

“What the fuck,” Devour huffs, exhaling through his nose, after both exit the APC.
“Dude, you heard him. It was a pirate attack. They tried to stop it. Don’t let that pull you into all this,” Sacred whispers. “This isn’t going to fix anything.”
“No, it was them. Their government was corrupt, man,” Devour justifies, “First they take Snowy, now they’re taking my country.”
“OUR country,” Sacred stresses, “Devour, you know that I understand how important family is to you. And you also know that I’d die for Stickpage. But this?” Sacred points to the APC. “I’m not sure about this. Do these guys even know what they’re doing? We’ve got some has-been public figures, a couple guys who should be institutionalized, and a cross-dresser.”
“Look Sacred,” Devour retorts. “You’ve been gone for two years. Doing what, I don’t know. But right now, I don’t care. All I care about, is making sure we don’t get fucked by this new government. You haven’t been here to see how far we’ve come, or what we’ve gone through recently. You just left us behind.”
Sacred’s brow furrows.
“We could really use your help,” Devour adds.
A moment of silence drew between both of them before it was interrupted by 2-D.
“Wrap it up homos, we’re moving out.” Both climb in reluctantly as the door closes behind them.
“What are we doing now? We can’t just hide out under bridges forever.” Zed asks.
“I got it covered.” 2-D says, firing up the ignition. A couple homeless people take a look into the alley, drawn in by the noise. They are quickly blinded by the headlights as the engine fires up.

An old condemned warehouse sits in the center of the industrial district of Stickpaeg. It is surrounded by other warehouses, factories, and various other blue-collar businesses. Most of the local workers earn a low-wage, and haven’t fully recovered yet from the reset. Many don’t appreciate the sudden influx of FluidAnim immigrants.

Many windows on the warehouse have been broken throughout the years. The metal siding has rusted, and appears to have once been the canvas for graffiti to the local riff-raff, though the paint is now faded and peeling away. The front of the warehouse features two large steel sliding bay doors as well as an office door to the left side. Rats and other rodents have made a home here, distributing trash around the exterior of the building.

Devour and General Douchington pry the bay doors apart until they can get a good enough hold to push them apart. Sacred jumps in to assist as the doors screech along the rusty rails.

“This is the place you had in mind, 2-D?” Jeremy asks, kneeling behind the driver’s seat of the APC as they wait for the doors to open. “Looks like a good place to get tetanus.”
“Hey, you wanted quiet and off the grid,” 2-D replies from behind the wheel. “You got quiet and off the grid.”
“How did you find this place anyway?” Jeremy looks around.
“CMPunk mentioned it to me. Said he found it while looking for an emergency shelter during The Reset or some shit,” 2-D replies.

The bay doors eventually open, raining dust and small pieces of metal from the railing above. They wave 2-D through, then step out of the way of the vehicle. The APC pulls through the bay doors slowly, before letting out a hiss as the air brakes are engaged. The rear hatch drops to the concrete floor, bouncing with a slight vibration, as Jeremy exits.
“Man, this place is a dump,” General Douchington says, pulling the bay doors shut, “This shit better have electricity.”
Right on cue, the fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling flicker for a few seconds before lighting up.
Zed stood at the light switch near the entrance, “Well, at least that’s something…”
Only about half the lights worked, the rest just remained flickering, if they lit up at all. They lit the warehouse enough to get a good look around. Most of the space was separated into three large bays, divided by badly sheetrocked walls. The main bay, which they had just pulled into, featured an office in the corner to the left, next to a set of small restrooms and a meeting room. A single door in the back led into a similarly sized bay along the back wall of the building. To the right was a larger bay, extending all the way to the back. The walls were lined with dusty shelves and cheap wooden counters. Various air hoses and wiring hung from the ceiling. The warehouse appeared to have been some sort of industrial repair shop or storage at one point, possibly for semi-trucks or other some heavy equipment.

“This place…” Jeremy says, looking around the main bay, “needs some work.”
“So this is where we going to hole up? Gotta say I wasn’t expecting a shithole like this as our hideout man,” General Douchington observes looking into the large side bay.
“Yeah well, after they tried to raid us, none of our homes are safe. This is the best we got at the moment. Make the best of it,” Jeremy snaps back, “Nobody made you come.”
“Maybe not him. I don’t have much of a choice anymore,” Zed grumbles, slightly boozed from the already half empty bottle of gin.
“Zed, I think you’ve had enough,” Jeremy says grabbing the bottle from him, having apologized many times already for what happened back at the house. Zed glares at him, as he tips back against the side of the APC.
“Hey guys, what’s up with this?” CMPunk asks, holding up a pair of lacy white ladies underwear.
“The fuck? That’s disgusting, man, put that shit down,” Douchington says stepping back from him, “They probably got scabies, or the herp, or some shit on ‘em.”
“Iunno. They look pretty clean, man,” 2-D says, taking a closer look, “Where did you find these, CMPunk?”
“By the office,” he responds, pointing towards the door.

After taking a closer look, there seemed to multiple pairs of women’s underwear, of various types, scattered around the floor near the office. They laid on top of the dust, so it appeared they’d been dropped there recently. Jeremy peers through the office window. The glass was frosted, making very little visible even if the office light wasn’t off. Zed cracks the door and peeks inside.
“Figures CMPunk would bring us here. Creepy fuck,” Douchington says in the background, unloading Cavalier from the APC.
Unable to see anything, Zed steps inside and finds the lightswitch. The office lights up. The floor is littered with female undergarments and a bra hangs from the inside doorknob. A large statured, bearded man in ragged clothes lays passed out in the office chair, a red thong draped over his face, and his hand resting on a two third empty bottle of whiskey sitting at the base of the chair.
“Hello.” Zed says, stepping forth and swiftly grabbing the bottle of booze before the others enter.
“Who the fuck is this?” Douchington asks, stepping into the office with Jeremy, who squints his eyes.
“Nish?” he says genuinely surprised. He had seen on the news that he was being released from prison, but why would he be squatting in an old warehouse? The underwear was probably the least odd thing about the situation.
“Nish,” Jeremy repeats, “NISH!”

The panties slip off Nish’s face as he jerks awake, covering his eyes from the bright office light.
“What the fuck? Who are you guys? Jeremy? Zed? 2-D?” Nish asks before seeing Cavalier shoved into the office in cuffs.
“I see what’s going on,” he says, “Bunch of guys, handcuffs, remote location. I’ll get my whip.”
“NO! Sit down,” Jeremy orders.
“Wait, who is that guy anyway?” Nish points at Cavalier.
“Fuck…” Jeremy says, hoping to hide the truth, “He’s a uh-”
“Wait.” Nish pauses as he remembers the recent news headlines, and the realization hits him, “He’s that missing FluidAnims guy, isn’t he. Now that I think I think of it, you guys have been plastered all over the news lately.”
Jeremy keeps silent.
“Holy shit.” Nish laughs, “You guys are gonna get fucked up.”
“Don’t worry about us,” Jeremy says, “What about you?”
“I don’t give a shit. Kill as many of those FAgs as you want,” Nish shrugs in the chair.
“Hey man, what the hell,” Cavalier yells from the back.
“Don’t worry, Cavalier. We’re going to keep as non-violent as possible.” Jeremy insists.
“Well shit, that’s no fun. Whats a good bloody rebellion without the blood?” Nish asks.
“What the hell are you doing here anyway, Nish?” Jeremy asks, changing the subject.
“Yeah, Nish. Nice place ya got here,” 2-D comments, glancing around the trashed office, then the underpants scattered around the floor, “Nice to see your time in the penn stopped your molestation habit.”
“Hey,” Nish shrugs again, sitting back in his chair. He then drops his heavy boot clad feet on the desk, and leans back with his hands folded behind his head, “I haven’t molested anyone yet. I’m just… borrowing their unmentionables. It’s all part of my rehabilitation plan. You can’t just stop cold turkey.”
“You’re a sick man. I like it,” Douchington says with a chuckle, with an agreement from 2-D.
“What are you doing squatting in a place like this?” Jeremy asks, waving his hand across the room.
“It’s not easy getting work as an ex-felon. Apparently employers have an issue with sexual assault,” Nish replies, “They like to pretend their female employees are actually people.”
“Yeah. Ex-felon,” Cavalier says sarcastically from the office corner.
“Shut up, you fucking cunt,” Nish snarls back.
“We need to get rid of him, Jeremy. This is obviously a set up. He’s been planted here by FluidAnims and TheRisen!” CMPunk yells enthusiastically, pointing at Nish.
“The only thing I ever spied on, was your dad fucking your mom in the shower. He should’ve just spilt you on the floor, but instead committed one of biggest atrocities in history,” Nish taunts, much to the shock of CMPunk.
“For fuck’s sake CMPunk...” General Douchington groans, rolling his eyes.
“Shut up dumbass!” CMPunk yells, suddenly punching Douchington in the shoulder, “He’s obviously a spy. What are the chances of us finding him here? They put him here to get information. We need to get rid of him, then go straight after TheRisen.”
CMPunk feebly attempts to rally enthusiasm. “Who’s with me?!” he shouts, before receiving a hook to the jaw from Douchington.
“Don’t touch me again!” he yells, rubbing his knuckles. CMPunk lunges back, but is grabbed and held back by Devour.
“Come on, ya little shitstain,” Douchington taunts, being pulled away by Zed, and Sacred stepping in between.
“Calm the fuck down!” Jeremy shouts at the two, closing his eyes in frustration.
“CMPunk, get out of here,” he orders again, holding his arm toward the door.
“But, we nee-” CMPunk says, cut off by Jeremy again.
“NOW!” he yells, slamming his fist down into the desk.
CMPunk quietly leaves the room as Jeremy rubs his temples, wondering why he ever let in on this.

Amused, Nish grins at the scene from his seat at the desk. Jeremy turns back to him, regaining his composure.
“We’re staying here, Nish. I trust you’ll keep your mouth shut, so you’re free to stay with us,” Jeremy says. “Jeus knows we need any help we can get.”
“Do you have a plan?” he replies, “I saw Scarecrow and #32 in prison before they cut me loose.”
“Well, we were going to get them out. Then we wanted to get a message out to all of Stickpage. But those plans have recently been compromised.” Jeremy says glancing at Cavalier. “But I think I know a way to get both done at once.”


---


Somewhere in 4chan, a man named Jaso hovers a blackhawk helicopter over a forest clearing. AK-47 rounds ricochet off the side of the helicopter; a lucky couple penetrate the glass into the cockpit. “Psyche!” Ashlander shouts in dismay, sprinting through the tall grass in the clearing below, as Psyche’s head jerks back with a red spray. More 4chan troops emerge from the treeline, shouting and turning their guns on the blackhawk. Jaso tries maintaining control of the chopper as the various cockpit lights flash red and yellow while the warning alarms sound off. The cabin suddenly fills with flames, and catches on his uniform. Moving quickly, he momentarily abandons the controls to remove his jacket, then grabs the stick, to correct the helicopter’s hard bank toward the trees. Over the beeping control panel and whirring of the rotor blades, Jaso can just make out the sound of an M4 as Ashlander returns fire on the 4chanians, covering Psyche. Just as he finds a glimmer of hope in regaining control of the helicopter, Jaso hears his least favorite words over the radio, amidst a wash of static. “Jaso! RPG!” Ashlander yells coarsely, dragging Psyche’s body toward the edge of the forest. Jaso pulls the controls hard to the right moments before a deafening boom is heard behind him.

Jaso gasps, waking from his sleep with a jolt. He sits up and runs a hand through his sweat soaked hair. He was still suffering the same nightmares from a helicopter crash thirteen years earlier. He thought he was getting better; it had been a number of months since his last episode. After sitting to collect himself for a moment, the deep rumble of an engine outside interrupts the silence.

Jaso pulls a robe around himself as he steps out of bed and walks to the bedroom window, peering out. Being on the coast of what was once Power-Fusion, the view inland is largely made up of barren wasteland. Some Power-Fusion ruins were scarcely visible in the distance, as the sunrise shone through the old buildings. A motorcycle kicks up clouds of dust, as it barrels down a dirt road, before eventually pulling up to the front of the house. Nobody else lived for hundreds of miles, and he wasn’t expecting any company. Jaso steps out his front door, shotgun hidden beneath his robe. The man sits on a black Harley Sportster Forty-Eight, wearing a leather jacket and aviators. He turns off the ignition and climbs off the bike before removing his sunglasses. “Ash?” Jaso asks, coming down the porch steps.

“It’s been a long time, man.” Ashlander says, stretching his arms out from the long ride. Jaso relaxes and removes the shotgun from his robe, flipping the safety back on.
“Geez man, who the fuck did you think I was?” Ashlander asks, surprised at the precaution.
“Nobody comes all the way out here and pokes around former Power-Fusion looking for a nice chat and a cup of coffee,” Jaso responds, shaking Ashlander’s hand and pulling him in for a shoulder bump, “What brings you out here after so long?”
Ashlander pats Jaso on the back, “I can’t just stop by an old friend and say hi?”
Jaso invites Ashlander into the house, while he gets dressed. The place is kept simple, and not much different from last time he was here, almost 10 years ago. No TV. No Stereo. Hardly any electronics at all. Just some old furniture and a stained rug. A dusty picture of the callsign ‘Freedom’ MOD units sat on a small table against the wall. Unit 2, Ashlander, Psyche, KkazakK, and Jaso, stood in front of their blackhawk. A crude cartoonish painting of a star, brandishing two machine guns and a strand of bullets across its chest was on the tail section of the helicopter.

“I never did like that logo,” Ashlander admits, looking at the old Freedom unit’s emblem. “Yeah well, unfortunately it was chosen long before we were ever in MOD,” Jaso says stepping back into the living room after changing into his normal clothes.
“So how've you been. Still hiding out in the middle of nowhere I see,” Ashlander says, making his way into the kitchen to investigate the fridge situation, “Still having nightmares?”
“No… They stopped a while ago,” Jaso lies, “I don’t suppose they ever caught Puppet-Master?” Ashlander smells a carton of milk, which was clearly sour, before placing it back in the fridge.
“Dunno. I gave up looking. Don’t care anymore,” he says, settling on a shady looking ham sandwich.
“What? Don’t care? What about Psyche?” Jaso asks angrily.
Ashlander pauses a moment, before taking a bite.
“That’s in the past. Nothing we do can fix that shitstorm of an operation,” he says with his mouth full.
“Why are you here, Ash?”
“Alright.” Ashlander sighs, “I’m here on behalf of some friends in Stickpage.”
“Stickpage?” Jaso asks surprised, “I thought you and KkazakK went to FlashIndustries.”
“Oh, I did. I moved around alot. FlashIndustries, Shiftlimits, eventually made my way to Stickpage. ZakK became successful in FlashIndustries and stayed there. Not sure where he is now.”
“And these friends in Stickpage,” Jaso says, “What do they want?”
“They need all the men they can get,” Ashlander answers, “And any equipment they can get.”
“What’s in it for you?”
“I’m just helping friends.” Ashlander shrugs, leaning against the fridge.
“And me? I’m not a fighter.”
“No, but you’re a pilot. And I foresee the need of a pilot,” Ashlander says, while simultaneously inhaling the rest of the sandwich.
“I’m not a pilot anymore. That shit ended thirteen years ago.” Jaso says with slight concern of his friend choking.
“Dude, make an exception. You know you can do it. I know you do it.”
“What’s the situation?” Jaso asks.
“You know, a textbook rebellion. Only this time we’re the bad guys,” Ashlander uses air quotes to emphasize ‘bad guys’.
“Sounds interesting,” Jaso pauses. The two stand in the kitchen in silence for a minute or two until Jaso responds, “So after all these years, you expect to just waltz back over here, bat your pretty eyelashes, flash your tits, and I’ll just jump back into action?”
“Well…” Ashlander shrugs, “I can flash my tits if you want. I was hoping just the eyelashes would do it.”
Jaso leans against the kitchen counter and thinks to himself for a minute, before glancing back at Ashlander, “I suppose. I dont have alot going on here anyway.”
“Sweet,” Ashlander says with an approving nod, “Now we just need to get our hands on a helicopter.”
“Follow me, I’ve got something to show you,” Jaso says, signalling Ashlander to follow as he exits the kitchen from a back door.

A large sheet metal shed stands about fifty yards behind the house. Jaso slides the doors open, revealing a large object hidden by a blue tarp. Jaso glances back at Ashlander, who stands outside amused. The tarp is pulled off to the side, unveiling a flatbed trailer. Ashlander’s jaw dropped. His attention was not on the trailer, but on it’s cargo. A complete, undamaged, albeit very dusty, blackhawk helicopter sat atop the flatbed, rotors folded back.

“What the fuck, Jaso!” he says excited, “Where did you get this?”
“I found it behind the old armory in the General Section of PF a few years ago,” Jaso says, “I’ve done a bit of scavenging over the last decade or so.”
“Does she start?”
“It did when I found it. Barely. It’ll probably need some TLC to get it going now, but she should fly,” Jaso says optimistically, “What should we name it?”
“Well, given the current situation, I think Freedom is fitting.”

Ashlander
03-03-2012, 12:21 PM
Part 7

WarCorrespondent stands in the break room of a high security prison just outside Stickpeag City. The room has been turned over to the former FluidAnims SWAT team for the time being, in preparation for the possible prison attack by Jeremy. One wall of the room has a couple monitors and some communication equipment hung on it. The tables are covered in blueprints of various levels of the prison, the roof-top taking priority and most of the table space.

Jessepinwheel stops outside the makeshift command center, with details from the entrance team below. Standing at attention, uniform kept to exact standards, the stern female officer clears her throat to get the commanders attention, “Sir.” WarCorrespondent waves her into the elevator. “How’s progress going down there?” Jessepinwheel puts her finger to stairwell C on the blueprint of the first floor, “This staircase doesn’t go to the roof, so we redistributed those men to stairs A and B as well as the main entrance” she responds through pursed lips, “Other than that, everything is as you ordered.”

“Good. My men will cover the elevators. If Jeremy and his crew show up for those two thugs, we’ll be ready for them.” WarCorrespondent nods toward one of the monitors, displaying the east wing’s lounging area, where Scarecrow and #32 spend most of their time. Sure enough, the two are sat in their stiff plastic blue chairs in front of the small ceiling mounted television, watching the weather.

Their lounging area was in the center of the east wing, surrounded by three floors of cells. Scarecrow recalls there being six floors to the prison from his NTF days, though he never set foot inside the building. Perhaps this was just one of two cell ‘clusters’ in the east wing. In that case, were they in the bottom, or top cluster? It doesn’t matter, he thought. An escape was impossible before, but now the security seems to have ramped up everywhere he goes. The lounge area, the dining hall, the courtyard. Even the touring school children he can see through a tempered glass pane on the west wall, have been accompanied by armed escorts the last couple days.

“Why do we keep watching the news, man?” #32 asks, picking away at a seemingly stale dinner roll left over from his lunch tray.
“Haven’t you noticed the security around this place? It’s twice as strong as when we first got here.” Scarecrow responds, hardly impressed #32 hadn’t noticed, “Jeremy must have done something big out there, and I want to find out what it is.”
“So, how would that relate to the prison security?” #32 replies, still picking at the roll, half his attention on why this place gives them such shitty food.
“I don’t know… hence the news.” Scarecrow retorts, “And Jeus, just eat that damn thing already.”

The weather segment ends, and the station cuts back to it’s usual midday anchors. A pretty blonde woman, and a middle aged grey haired man are sat behind a desk. “And that concludes our weather forecast.” Scarecrow mocks with an eyeroll, in perfect time with the elderly man. He’s clearly watched the “What’s New” station far too much over the last few weeks. ‘What’s New’ is Stickpages proprietary government funded news station. Running twenty-four hours, it brings news and events to every household in Stickpage. On it’s launch, it was accompanied by a piece of legislation, requiring all major TV providers to implement an ‘auto-switch’ in their network protocols. This enabled What’s New to broadcast over all major networks in times of emergency with a simple flick of a switch. This was hardly used however, due to the mass audiences it would inconvenience. Jeus forbid it interrupt Rabbit Doubt, SP Mafia, or some other reality TV show.

“And now we’re going to take you to one of our correspondents, live in Newgrounds covering a reported surge in crime,” the blonde anchor introduces, before being replaced with a slightly grainy picture of their reporter.
“Thanks guys. It would seem that the black market activity here in Newgrounds has spiked over the last month or two. I’ve spoken to numerous officials, and they were not able to tell me the cause of the increased activity. They seemed to be under the impression that the operation is being spearheaded by illegal immigrants. So naturally, they were hesitant to speak to an outsider about the issue. That’s all I’ve got for now, I’ll keep you posted with any updates. Back to you guys,” the reporter attempts to segway, followed by a long pause. “...I’m sorry, they must be having technical difficu-” The reporter is cut off when the signal breaks, and is replaced with What’s New’s typical “We’ll be right back…” placeholder screen, usually used when they experience technical difficulties.

Shortly after the What’s New station’s signal was lost, the faint sound of police sirens could be heard outside its main headquarters. Soon, multiple police cruisers and trucks skid to a stop in front of the building. The first few officers exit the vehicles to block and redirect traffic away from the station, followed by a couple guys placing down traffic cones. One of the trucks acts as cover for an equipment van that pulls onto the scene shortly after. Oxob steps up into the back of the van to find the usual radios and megaphones, and other various communication devices commonly used in hostage or standoff situations. He also found some small mobile TV screens, which all displayed the “We’ll be back soon…” placeholder screen from the TV station. These proved to be unnecessary however, as the TV station itself had a large 40-foot LCD screen, dubbed the SkyTV, mounted outside the twelfth floor, near the top of the building.

“Got everything you need back there?” Smile, a young Stickpage native and rookie officer, asks from the front of the van.
“Yeah, it looks like it,” Oxob replies, picking up some radios, “Is there a mobile command post on its way?”
“I didn’t see any being prepped. I think they’re all in use at the prison right now.”
“Oh right… Well that’s just great,” Oxob groans, tossing Smile a radio, “Take this, you’re on the entrance for now.”

By the time Oxob exits the van, a number of senior officers have gathered around the back waiting for instruction. “What do you guys know?” he asks the closest officer.
“Not much. Panic button was pushed. No response from the building afterwards, and now they’re off-air,” he replies.
“Alright, so nothing I don’t already know,” Oxob sighs.
“There are at least two figures vaguely visible just inside the main entrance doors,” another officer contributes.
Oxob glanced for himself, “I’m going to try to open communication with whoever’s inside,” he says before assigning the other officers their orders. He urges them not to make a move unless he specifically says to, stressing the unknown number of civilians in the building and a possible hostage situation.
“Have you seen any of them yet?” Oxob asks, making his way towards another truck to get equipped.
“We’ve only seen two of them so far, the two males near the entrance. Look like twins or something.”

Devour and Sacred cringe slightly from inside the building lobby as police surround the front of the building. The two took positions near the front door armed with MP5s, in case the authorities tried to breach the building. ‘We’re fucked,’ Sacred thinks to himself, while instinctively switching off the safety of his MP5. Oxob eventually emerges from behind one of the police SUVs, equipped with a kevlar vest, and carrying a megaphone in his right hand. He stops about forty feet from the doors and lifts the megaphone to his mouth, “This is Oxob, with the Stickpaeg City Task Force. Please respond or we will be forced to enter the building.”

“STAY BACK!” Devour yells, brandishing the MP5 through the glass entrance doors before slamming them closed again.
“Shit…” Sacred utters, “You better call Jeremy.”
“Hey Jer’, they’re trying to speak to us.” Devour says slightly panicked into a cheap walkie-talkie.
“Alright,” Jeremy buzzes over the radio, “I guess it’s time to answer them. Give me a minute.”

“Are you sure about this, man?” Sacred asks Devour, feeling uneasy about rubber bullets and bean bags as their only means of defense, “These guys are wearing tactical gear and armor again. These things aren't even going to phase them.”
“Yeah, well if everything goes according to plan, we’ll be out of here before they get in.” Devour reassures, “Have some faith, man.”
“Alright…” Sacred sighs, remaining unsure, “I just hope the shit doesn’t hit the fan down here.”

The two stand guard inside the front entrance of the building, ignoring Oxob’s repeated pleas for a response. After a few more failed communication attempt, he begins to lose patience and signals the officers to start moving toward the entrance. Only a couple steps are taken when the SkyTV atop the building flickers, then returns to the anchor’s desk. Both anchors sit in their chairs, mouths taped, and hands zip-tied behind their chairs. Jeremy stands between them, hands on the back of each chair. “Shit…” Oxob utters under his breath, realizing he lacks the resources to deal with the emerging situation, as most of it is tied up at the prison.

“Are we on now?” Jeremy asks calmly on screen.
“Y-Yeah. You’re good to go,” the cameraman stutters from behind the camera, “Good. Get the emergency alert online.”
The camera bobs as the cameraman hurries to the control panel and flips the switch. The live broadcast is shot out to almost every TV in Stickpage, as their signal overrides all the other networks.

Shortly after, the camera recenters on Jeremy, “Hello Stickpage, I’m sure by this point most of you know who I am. I don’t know what FluidAnims, or Stickpage, or whoever they are now, has told you about us, but we do know something I’m sure they haven't told you yet,” Jeremy pauses for effect, “TheSaw is resigning. And he is being replaced by Stone. I don’t know if this is his own doing, or if he’s acting under duress. President CrazyJay has not stepped in to stop it, so he must’ve had some hand in the decision. FluidAnims leading Stickpage will only lead to the perversion of our heritage and culture, and if our own government isn’t going to intervene, that leaves us. I understand some of you may be hesitant to stand against your own country, but there comes a time when even the most loyal need to take a step back and evaluate what’s in Stickpage’s best interest in the long run. This is one of those times. We need to put our foot down now, or Stickpage, as you have always known it, may not be around to defend much longer. This is not a protest. This is not a rebellion. This is your duty, as Stickpagians, to ensure the survival of your way of life.” Jeremy stands back and signals the cameraman to cut the transmission.

“Shit. Shit. Shit. SHIT!” Oxob shouts, throwing the megaphone against one of the squad cars. After regaining his composure he returns to the equipment van, pointing at one of the officers, “You. Get more guys here, now. I want a full tactical team ready to go in less than an hour. Get a hostage negotiator. Pull people from the prison if you have to.”
“WarCorrespondent isn’t going to like that,” the officer replies.
“WarCorrespondent can fuck himself. They don’t need to be there anymore anyway,” he yells, plucking a phone from the wall of the van.
“Patch me into WarCorrespondent… I don’t care, just do it,” Oxob instructs, before a moment of silence as the call is patched through.
“Oxob? What do you want? I have my hands full here.”
“Oh. Well, are they full of shit from sitting on your thumbs over there? Jeremy isn’t going to prison. He’s at a TV station and he just spilled the beans about Stone all over the place.”
“Aw shit…”
“How the fuck does he know about that?”
“Oh, that. Uh… That may have slipped out during our… interview.”
“Well, who the fuck was asking the questions? Him or you?”

Inside the station, Jeremy breathes a sigh of relief. First time on television and he forces himself on the entire country and basically declares war.
“How was that?” he asks the cameraman as soon as he gets the Off-Air signal.
“Uh, good,” he replies, not daring to tell him he came off a bit shaky, “You guys aren't going to hurt us are you? We’re all Stickpagian, none of us are affiliated with FluidAnims at all.”
“What’s your name?” Jeremy asks.
“Raptor,” the cameraman replies, a quizzical look on his face.
“No, Raptor. We’re not going to hurt anyone. Not even our FluidAnims friend here,” Jeremy says reassuringly, with a nod toward Cavalier, “But Stone and his minions don’t know that.”

“Sup.” Cavalier says from the prep area behind the cameras and teleprompters, seemingly unfazed by the whole situation. Raptor eyed Cavalier for a moment, handcuffed and still in most of his tactical gear, and placed under the careful guard of General Douchington. He wondered what exactly went down before they showed up here, but decided it was best not to probe for information. The only reason he wasn’t bound up and stuck with the rest yet, was because none of Jeremy’s men knew how to operate the broadcast equipment. The rest of the stations crew and employees were zip-tied, and held in a large conference room on the floor below, under the watch of Nish and 2-D. Nish’s large stature and grisly appearance, along with the nature of his criminal history and occasional references to ‘The Human Centipede’, removed any fleeting thoughts of ‘heroism’ among them.

“I got it open, Jeremy!” CMPunk yells enthusiastically as he appears from the hallway, his face covered in dust, “It wasn’t locked up very good, just a padlock. Doesn’t look like its been used in forever though.”
“Good. It’s still intact then?” Jeremy replies.
“It looks like it.”

Jeremy turns his attention to Douchington, CMPunk, and Zed. The last of whom is very unimpressed with the current situation. Taking hostages and ransoming government employees was not the solution to this merge in Zed’s eyes, even if it was just a bluff. Despite his disappointment, he was stuck with them for the time being.

“Hey,” Raptor whispers toward Cavalier, finding Jeremy’s earlier words hard to believe, “They really haven’t hurt you?”
“Nah. I’ve been alright. They’re more or less reasonable people,” Cavalier says, before shooting General Douchington a quick glance, “Well, most of them. That one’s just a dick.”
“And the others?”
“The tall one that smells like gin seems like he doesn’t even want to be here,” Cavalier nods toward Zed, “And that goofy looking one… CMPunk? There’s something wrong with him.”

Cavalier hushes himself when Jeremy returns, gesturing Raptor to start broadcasting again. “Ready?” Raptor asks, after hoisting the camera back over his shoulder, and holding his hand out for a count of three. Receiving a nod from Jeremy, he counts down, then silently points to Jeremy to signal they’re on air.

Oxob, still arguing with WarCorrespondent over the phone, pauses once Jeremy is displayed on the screens again. This time he was in the prep area, behind the scenes, and standing close to the camera. Douchington could be seen behind him, almost out of frame.

“Stone, WarCorrespondent, whoever is in charge outside. I’ve called your attention here for a reason. Well, a reason aside from my rallying call…” Jeremy says casually, stepping back to reveal Cavalier on his knees in the center of the room, “I believe I have something you want. You have something I want. Bring both of them here. Surely one of your own rookie officers is worth more to you than two petty criminals in an exchange. I want them here within 30 minutes, or he gets the same hospitality we were shown when you and your friends visited me. Call into the studio when they’re here.” Jeremy signals the end of the broadcast.

“Still there?” Oxob asks into the phone, unsure if WarCorrespondent has hung up.
“Yeah…”
“I need you and your men here as soon as possible, and bring Scarecrow and #32.”
“We’re not releasing those prisoners.”
“They’ll give us Cavalier.”
“...” WarCorrespondent considers the deal for a moment before answering. It was under his charge that Cavalier was captured to begin with, “Fine. We’ll be there soon.”
“Good. You got a half hour,” Oxob hangs up before WarCorrespondent has a chance to respond.

After what already seemed like an eternity, Oxob checks his watch. 27 minutes have passed. He considers calling in early to request they extend the deadline, but while running the conversation through his head, his thought process is interrupted by sirens and screeching tires. More squad cars arrive on the scene, followed by a few armored trucks, and a mobile command center. Armed guards hop out from the back of most of the armored trucks before they’ve even come to a complete stop. One of the trucks pulls up beside the equipment van. WarCorrespondent and Jessepinwheel exit, slamming the doors shut behind them. WarCorrespondent bangs on the side, making his way to the rear of the vehicle, gaining Oxob’s attention. As Oxob approaches, the back doors are opened from the inside by Jombo, who then steps out of the way for Scarecrow and #32 to exit.

“Look at this. Red carpet treatment and everything,” WarCorrespondent says, waving them out of the truck.
“Jombo? What are you doing here?” Oxob asks, “Thought you were admin now.”
“Jeff is keeping me on the street until this all blows over,” Jombo replies, “Saving face with the public or something.”
“So he’s just bending over for everybody?”
“No, he’s just easing them into the transition I guess.”
“That’s bullshit.”
“Well there’s something we both actually agree on,” WarCorrespondent says, pulling burlap sacks off the two prisoner’s heads, revealing bruises and black eyes, “What do you want to do with these guys?”
“Why would you bother covering their heads? And what the hell did you do to them?” Oxob questions, ripping the sacks away from him and throwing them back into the truck.
“I was just…” Warcorrespondent shrugs, “persuading them to behave out here before we left.”

WarCorrespondent orders Jessepinwheel and one of his other teams to take positions on top of the building across the street, while Scarecrow and #32 are herded to the front of the police blockades.
“What the fuck is all this about?” #32 asks, as the two of them are brought out into plain view of the building.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was an exchange,” Scarecrow answers, taking in the scene. He notices many of the officers, both FAg and Stickpagian, occasionally turn their attention from their duties and shoot the two of them a dirty glance, as if they had just finished eiffel towering their grandmothers or something. After turning his attention to the buildings entrance, he catches a glimpse of two similar looking figures lurking behind the doors. Sacred and Devour, no doubt.

“Hey look, there they are,” Devour says, pointing outside.
“They actually brought them?” Sacred asks with genuine surprise, “I gotta say, I really didn’t think this would work.”
“I told you. Gotta have some faith,” Devour replies, “We got these guys by the balls.”
“Well we’re not out of the fire yet,” Sacred says, still uneasy about watching dozens of armed men staring at them from other side of the doors.

Oxob receives the number to call from an officer in the van, who has been retrieving all the information about the building he could. Phone numbers, floor plans, electrical circuits, elevator locations, even employee rosters. Oxob dials into the station from a phone on the back of the equipment van, before stepping outside to keep an eye on the SkyTV. Predictably, after a few rings, the SkyTV flares up. The camera is centered again on Cavalier. Jeremy stood to the side, near an electronic control panel. Raptor’s hand appears briefly on screen, pointing Jeremy to the correct panel. “This one?” Jeremy asks, barely audible, as he presses one of the buttons, which consequently ends the phones ringing, and forwards the line to some speakers built into the desk.

“Who am I talking to?” Jeremy asks, stepping out from behind the panel.
“This is Oxob, with the Stickpaeg City Police.”
“Never heard of you. You must be from FluidAnims.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“And I’m guessing everyone else down there is as well, am I right?”
“No, there’re plenty of Stickpagians down here, too.”
“Yeah,” Jeremy says with an eyeroll, “The ones you just brought for me. Right?”
“Yes, they’re here.” Oxob responds, “So how did you expect to do this? I just send your boys up, and you guys try to make an escape?”
“We’ll let Cavalier go first. Then you send my guys up.” Jeremy says, “And if you don’t, we have roughly 40 other hostages up here. Unless you want it to start raining weathermen, I expect to see them up here.”
Oxob glances at Jombo, trying to think quickly, “Are you hurt, Cavalier?”
Jeremy’s facial expression changes to one of insult, prompting Oxob to continue, “I just need to know if I’ll have to call for medical assistance.”
Jeremy nods to Cavalier, allowing him to answer, under the assumption that they would only take his word for it, “No, I’m fine. They haven’t hurt me.”
“Good, good…” Oxob responds, “They’ve treated you fairly then?”
“Yup.”
“Good. Anything else?” Oxob asks, hoping Cavaliers captors haven’t caught onto his questioning yet.
“...” Cavalier considers his next response carefully with a glance toward Douchington, knowing his likely reaction, “They’re going to escape through some tunnels beneath the building.”

“Hey man! Shut up!” CMPunk yells in his high pitched squelchy voice, as he pulls a pistol from the front of his waistband, and puts it to Cavalier’s forehead. The pistol emits a loud bang as the trigger is pulled, and Cavalier’s head is knocked back by the impact of the rubber bullet. After a moment staring at the ceiling, Cavalier’s head fell forward, eyes peering off into space. A 9mm hole was visible right above his eyebrows, from which a thin trail of blood ran down around his nose. Jeremy, as well as the rest of his crew, stood in shock. Douchington watched from the side, mouth agape, as Cavalier’s arms and shoulders went slack and practically fell onto his lap. Zed turned away, unable to face what he become a part of. Nobody moved or said anything, they could only stare at the now lifeless body sitting on its knees in the center of the room. Jeremy, remembering they were live, struggles to regain his composure and repeatedly signals for Raptor to stop broadcasting. The live feed is then cut, and once again replaced with the placeholder screen.

Oxob and Jombo both stood in horror, staring at the now blank screen. WarCorrespondent stood quietly, unable to remove his eyes from the still screen. Anger, guilt, and regret, swelled in the pit of his stomach. By this point, a large crowd had formed around the police barriers, most of which had also suddenly fell silent. Most of the onlookers were just curious or nosey civilians, but there were also reporters and journalists gathering at the front, hoping to get a story for their paper or tomorrow’s news. A couple camera flashes, finally drew WarCorrespondent's gaze away from the screen. “Get out of my face!” he yells, breaking the silence, while throwing a fold-out chair into the crowd, “FUCK OFF!”

“Alright then,” Scarecrow quips sarcastically, “I was cool with prison anyway. Thanks guys.”
“Fuck man. Forget prison, we’re probably getting executed now too,” #32 implies.
“Nah, man we’ll be fine.” responds Scarecrow, before taking a moment to reflect, “Actually, you’re probably right.”

Enraged, WarCorrespondent approaches Oxob from behind, and grabs him by the shoulder, “I’m sending a tac team in. Right now.”
“No, you’re not,” Jombo asserts, turning to aid his friend, “They still have the other hostages up there. We’re not going to risk anymore casualties.”
“You have no authority here, Jombo.” WarCorrespondent snaps, “You’re a desk jockey now. Shut up and go do some desk jockey stuff.”
“He doesn’t, but I do,” Oxob snaps back, “And he’s right. We’re not risking any more casualties.”
“Fuck,” WarCorrespondent points his finger inches away from Oxob’s face, “I’m getting them ready to go in. The second the opportunity presents itself,” he pauses, “…I’m hitting them.”

“What the FUCK!?” Jeremy shouts, ripping the pistol from CMPunk’s hand before grabbing him by the collar, “What the fuck are you thinking?!”
“What?” CMPunk steps back, “I didn’t know it would actually kill him! They’re just rubber bullets.”
“Jeus, CMPunk...” Zed sighs from the corner of the room, covering his face in panic as he begins pacing.
“Ashlander said they would, you fucking retard!” Douchington says, “You’re magically retarded, you know that? Like, nobody can be as naturally fucking stupid as you are.”
“Thats enough, Douchington!” Zed interrupts from the corner of the room, trying to keep things civil, if that was even possible at this point.
“I’m sorry…” CMPunk responds, “But I’m not stupid Douchington. At least I can tell what really been going on here. This guy worked for The-”
“So help me Jeus…” Jeremy spits into CMPunk’s face, still gripping his collar, “…if you say TheRisen, I am going to fucking throw you out the window.”
CMPunk swallowed nervously, and held his tongue.

Footsteps erupt from the hallway. “What’s going on?! We heard a gunshot from downstairs,” Nish yells bursting into the room, before setting his eyes on Cavalier, “…Oh. Shit.”
“What happened? I thought we were trading him in,” 2-D says, closely following Nish.
“We were supposed to,” Jeremy says, finally releasing his grip on CMPunk’s collar as he swings him through some camera equipment, and throwing him to the ground, “This stupid mother fucker doesn’t listen. That’s what happened.”
“Want me to take care of him?” Nish asks, “I know some things that’ll make him squirm.”
“No. Just leave me to think for a minute…” Jeremy answers, running a hand through his hair in frustration. He turns away from the others and leans over the anchor’s desk. “Well, we still have the other hostages,” Jeremy says under his breath.

Down the street, a FluidAnim team was already removing a manhole cover and preparing for a descent into the underworks of the city. Drone, a detective who immigrated to Stickpage shortly after the events of The Reset, was called in to help gather information. He rolls out a dusty blueprint of the city’s underground utilities. The sewage canals were marked by dark green lines, forming a large grid beneath the city.
“From what I’ve heard, these lines have been cut from service for over a decade and blocked off from the rest. Everything was just rerouted to the neighboring lines. This one goes right underneath the TV station,” Drone informs, trailing his index finger along the green line passing below them, “Informant mentioned ******** or something, was using it to smuggle contraband into the city at one point.”
“Well we know where they’re headed now. We can cut them off in the tunnel,” one of the team members replies.

The SkyTV lights up once again, this time centered back on the captured news anchors, with Jeremy taking his previous position behind the two of them. Oxob immediately jumps back to the phone connected to the station. After a short beep to indicate he’d been reconnected, Oxob musters everything he has in order not to blow the whole situation apart by verbally tearing Jeremy’s head off, “So…” he says, “what now?”

“The station crew, for Scarecrow and #32.” Jeremy says calmly.
“And if we refuse?”
“Then one of them will suffer the same fate as Cavalier every half hour until you agree.” Jeremy bluffs, knowing they still had little choice but accept.
“Fine.” Oxob responds with a pause, “But the crew first. Then we’ll release Scarecrow and #32.”
“How do we know you’ll hold up your end?”
“I’m a cop. I’m not allowed to lie about this shit,” Oxob says simply, “Plus, we’re on national TV. I’m not going to lie with the whole country watching. That would just give you more credibility.”

Without a response, Jeremy gives a nod to Raptor, signalling the end of the transmission. Nish and 2-D untie the news anchors and pull them out of their chairs. The female newswoman flails in an attempt to get away from Nish as he grabs her.
Jeremy interjects, pulling the woman away and steering her towards 2-D, “Not her, Nish. You’re taking the other guy.”
Nish shrugs, grabbing the older man by his shoulder, his large hand and strong grip bringing him to his knees, “Alright, I can party with this guy too.” The man’s face is filled with terror as he is practically drug down the hallway. Nish occasionally whispers into his ear, making him struggle even more until they reach the elevator. Once the doors open, the news anchors are thrown in, followed by Nish and 2-D. Another curdling scream from the elderly man seeps through the elevator doors as it descends to the floor below. Zed shakes his head from the corner of the room.

“I seriously doubt they’ll release Scarecrow or #32 now,” Douchington says, standing next to Cavalier, who was still upright on his knees, slightly hunched over. The blood trail on his face had dried, and very little had dripped onto the floor in front of him.
“Yeah well, anyone got any better ideas?” Jeremy says, “I’d love to hear them.”
“Why don’t we just-” CMPunk replies before immediately being hushed by Jeremy.
“Not from you, CMPunk. Just shut up. I don’t want to hear a word,” Jeremy says without so much as a look in his direction.
“We could let Scarecrow and #32 know. If they haven’t figured it out already,” Zed says, “Tell them to make a run for it.”
“That won’t work. Obviously, none of the hostages will do that,” Jeremy responds.
“I’ll do it,” Zed shrugs. The others all blink, “I’ll pose as a released hostage, and let them know when I get out.”
“That could work,” Douchington agrees. “He wants out anyway, everybody wins.”
“What if they recognize you? I don’t know if you’ve realized, but we’ve been a pretty big deal to these guys lately,” Jeremy asks, “What if that uh… WarCorrespondent guy, is down there?”
“I’ll just have to try avoiding him I guess.”
“You realize even if you do get out,” Jeremy pauses with concern, “...they’re bound to pick you up eventually.”
“It’s a risk I’m willing to take. I want no part in where this is headed.” Zed shrugs, “But you’re friends, so if my departure can help you out in some way, it just seems all the more obvious of a choice.”
Jeremy leans back against the desk, scratching his head in thought, “Alright, fine.”
“Wait,” Douchington chips, “What if he talks?”
“First of all… this is Zed we’re talking about here. Not a better guy exists in Stickpage,” Jeremy responds, “Second… What’s he going to say? We plan to take to take over a TV station? I don’t even know our next move yet, much less Zed.”
“True. I got nothing to tell them anyway,” Zed shrugs as he guides the last few crew members into the hall where Douchington them in the elevator to meet up with the others. Zed waves back to Raptor, “Come on, you can go now, too.”
“Actually,” Raptor says, looking to Jeremy, “I think I’m going to stay with you guys, if thats alright.”
“Raptor, please.” CMPunk scoffs, prodding him in the chest, “Why don’t you just leave this to the professionals, alright?”
“CMPunk. Shut. The fuck. Up.” Jeremy says, pushing him back, “Just stop. Stop talking. Stop thinking. Stop moving. Sto-”
“Stop breathing!” Douchington yells from the elevator just before the doors come to a close.
“We need everyone we can get.” Jeremy turns back to the cameraman, “You’re free to come with us if you want.”

Down at the entrance of the building, Sacred and Devour continue their standoff with the Task Force’s entry team. Jeremy had alerted them that the crew members would be coming down shortly to be released, neglecting to mention the incident with Cavalier. The two of them shrugged it off as a minor change of plan. After a few minutes, three of the four central elevators rung. The doors opened, and the station employees were herded out into the lobby. Sacred and Devour raised their guns to keep them in order until they were ready to be released. Jeremy eventually makes his way through the crowd, “Hey, CMPunk has gone down to keep the tunnel entrance ready for us. That way he’s out of the way, and we can make a quick getaway.”
“Good,” Sacred says, “I’m about done getting eyeballed by these guys.”
“Let the hostages out, wait for Scarecrow and #32, then get downstairs asap,” Jeremy instructs, “The rest of us are going to head down now.”
“Got it.” Devour acknowledges, waving the station employees up, as Jeremy disappears back into the crowd. As the employees shuffle around the lobby, Sacred spots Zed, accompanied by the smell of gin.
“Zed?” Sacred yells, “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be downstairs.”
“No,” Zed replies, making his way to Sacred, “I’m out. I’ve got no part in this fight.”
“Oh.” Sacred responds, slightly envious, “Damn man. Well good luck.”
“Be ready for Scarecrow and #32, they should be running through any minute.”
“Got it.”
“You guys ready?” Devour asks, hands on the entrance doors.

The task force members stand ready around the entrance of the building when the crowd of employees explode through the front doors. The entry team throw their arms out, blocking and grabbing, in an attempt to stop the crowd from breaking through and into the barricade. Zed, as tall as he is, attempts to keep his head down as he makes a beeline toward Scarecrow and #32. Jeremy was correct as it turns out, WarCorrespondent was here, right next to his targets. Fortunately people were panicking and running in all directions, so he figured he should be able to run past quickly without being noticed. One of the other runners crosses into his planned trajectory, forcing him to collide right into Scarecrow, nearly knocking him to the ground, “Run now!” He briefly catches the attention of WarCorrespondent, who gets a glimpse of him as he breaks through to the street and disappears into the ocean of reporters. Confused, #32 helps pull Scarecrow back to his feet.
“Zed?” Scarecrow whispers to #32, before the odd command sinks in. Scarecrow quickly eyes WarCorrespondent, then Oxob, both of whom were preoccupied with trying to stop the incoming civilians. Taking a deep breath, he lunges forward, pushes one of the officers out of the way, and runs straight into the crowd, whom were still coming through the front doors. Caught off guard, #32 follows suit, jumping over the downed officer, who had already been trampled two or three times. “HEY!” WarCorrespondent yells, failing to grab #32 before he takes cover among the escaping TV station workers.

The entry team, spotting the two escapees, raise their weapons. The sign of aggression just hurls the crowd into further panic, many people ducking and covering their heads, screaming, and running blindly in all directions.
“Hold your fire! Hold your fire!” Oxob yells immediately, running out in front of the officers, “Do NOT shoot into the crowd! Hold your fire until the civilians are clear!” Scarecrow and #32 slam into the entrance doors after the last of the station workers exit the building. The two squeeze through just as Devour pulls them closed.
“Damn,” Sacred says, throwing a chain around the entrance door handles, “I thought it was going to be a straight up exchange.” Scarecrow does not reply, staring out the door as the hostages disperse outside, bringing fully automatic weapons and tear gas into view.
“Shit,” he mumbles as he jumps away from the door, grabbing Sacred with him. The glass doors explode as bullets break through them, many ricocheting throughout the lobby. “Jeez!” Sacred yells, crashing against the wall, “What the fuck?!” Devour crouches near the edge of the door drawing his MP5 as the tac team stops to reload, and fires a couple short bursts into the nearest FAg. The impact of the rubber bullets send the officer to the ground quickly, hitting him numerous times.
“Yeah!” Devour shouts shortly before the officer sits up and climbs back to his feet, the body armor taking the brunt of the impact. Scarecrow helps Sacred to his feet, as #32 pulls Devour away from the door. A series of clicking as the tac teams new magazines were locked into their receivers, was followed by only a couple short seconds before gunfire, once again, sent glass and debris scattering through the lobby.

On the first level of the basement, Jeremy and the rest of his crew approach the unsealed entrance into the tunnels. It was a large round steel hatch, with a ladder leading down about twenty feet into a rounded tunnel. CMPunk was actually right about something for once, Jeremy thinks to himself. The tunnel looked like it had seen better days. Dust covered the otherwise clean floor around the hatch, and the way down was littered with cobwebs. The concrete inside the tunnel appeared to be unmaintained, heavily cracked and corroded, and appeared brittle.

Screams erupted from within the tunnels, “Cops!” CMPunk yells, sprinting into view before leaping onto the ladder. Douchington shrugs, the rest of the group sharing a collective eye roll.
“This guy, man,” Douchington says, interrupted by a couple rounds of gunfire blasted off down the tunnel.
“Oh shit, fuck!” he yells, kneeling down to give CMPunk a hand. Bits of concrete and dust fill the air, as the side of the ladder enclosure is blown apart with gunfire. CMPunk is barely pulled away from the hatch when two armed officers run into the view below.
“Oh yeah?!” Douchington yells into the tunnel, grasping the steel lid and lifting it up. “Well, fuck you guys!” he yells before slamming the hatch closed. CMPunk quickly drops to slide out, and flip the locking bar. A couple rounds ricochet off the underside, followed by a muffled “Don’t shoot at it you idiot!”

“Damnit, we have to go,” Jeremy says, throwing a hand back toward the stairwell.
“What? They’re all over the exits on the ground floor!” Douchington retorts.
“What other options are there?” Jeremy responds, opening the stairwell door.
“You faggots should have seen that coming.” 2-D yells from the back as they double-step their way back up to the ground floor.
“Fucking Cavalier,” CMPunk contributes, “this is all his fault!”
“No, fucking you!” Douchington yells, “This is all your fucking fault!”

Back in the lobby, the entry team pauses their fire as a few of them kick out the remaining glass from the entrance doors and surrounding windows. After the glass is clear they step through, weapons ready. Scarecrow and #32 sat behind cover of the reception desk, flanked by Devour and Sacred, who were both blind firing around the corners of the desk. #32, bled heavily from his leg after taking a ricochet round to the thigh. Sacred, having run out of ammunition, breaks away from the desk. Three short bursts of fire follow him to the side of the lobby, where he ducks behind a large potted plant. The plant only provided cover for a few seconds. After being struck by a couple rounds, it exploded and collapsed across the lobby, spilling soil across the floor. It provided cover long enough for Sacred to smash the fire extinguisher cabinet open. “Devour!” Sacred yells, hurling the red canister near the entrance. Devour slightly pokes his head around the corner the locate the object, before flinging his body around the desk and taking aim at the fire extinguisher. The rubber bullets prove useless, bouncing off the metal tank, and just send it spinning across the floor. Devour maintains his fire, desperately hoping to hit a weak spot. Just as he was about to withdraw back behind the counter, a lucky couple rounds strike the aluminum fitting atop of the tank. The fire extinguisher spins into the air violently, a thick white dry chemical cloud erupting from the nozzle. It narrowly misses one of the officers as it rockets across the entrance. Using the cloud as cover, Sacred waves Devour and the rest over to the stairwell. #32 lets out a soft grunt, falling back to a knee halfway across the room. Scarecrow looks back to find #32 struggling, a trail of blood dripping from his thigh. “Thought you guys might have forgotten about me,” #32 jokes as Scarecrow pulls his arm over his shoulder to help him across the lobby. Devour, realising the slow-down, falls back to cover them from behind. He holds his fire to prevent giving away their position, at least until everybody is safely on the other side. The stairwell door unexpectedly swings open, the slight difference in air pressure sucking the chemical cloud in. “Guys, come on!” Jeremy yells, covering his face. Devour ensures everybody is inside before slamming the stairwell door closed behind him.
“I thought you were going to the tunnel.” Sacred says with a pant, handing his empty MP5 off to Devour, who slides it through the door handle, hoping to prevent it being opened from the other side.

“They were waiting for us down there.” Jeremy replies.
“Great,” Sacred exhales, “So, what now?”
“I don’t know,” Jeremy says, meeting the gaze of everybody in the stairwell, sensing his loss of grip on the situation, “I’m sorry. But I just don’t know.”
“Well you better figure something out quick!” Douchington yells over the rattling of the stairwell door. The entry team had apparently found their way across the lobby. “We don’t exactly have a lot of time.”
“Raptor,” Jeremy calls, turning to the cameraman, “Are there any other ways out of here?”
“Not that I know of.” He shrugs in response.
“Shit,” Jeremy responds, before another loud bang shakes the stairwell door, almost knocking the MP5 loose.
“We need to go.” Devour says, quickly repositioning the gun.

Devours statement rings truer than he thought, when a sudden blast echoes through the stairwell, originating from the basement.
“What the hell was that?” Sacred asks.
“Sounds like they just blew the hatch open,” Jeremy responds. CMPunk is the first to take off up the stairs. Jeremy follows, but stops halfway up to goad the rest through. Jeremy notices #32s condition as him and Scarecrow pass. Lifting #32s other arm over his shoulder, Jeremy helps to get him up the stairs as quickly as possible. As they pass the third floor, a loud metallic clank reverberates through the concrete enclosure as the MP5 bounces off the floor only a couple levels below.
“Up the stairs, go!” one of the men yells. Jeremy and the others hurry their climb, swiftly ascending the stairs. Even #32, who’s stopped bleeding, has mustered the willpower to put the pain aside until they’ve reached safety. 6th floor. 7th floor. The sound of footsteps behind them grows closer with each level they climb. Jeremy eventually decides to take a detour through the door to the 8th floor. He finds himself back in the hallway to the broadcasting room. Raptor, Douchington, and the rest follow into the hall as Jeremy searches for something to barricade the door with. Raptor hurries back into the newsroom, flipping some switches on the control panel as he makes his way to one of the cameras and lifts it back up to his shoulder.

“What the fuck are you doing?” #32 asks.
“They might not attack if they see they’re on TV,” Raptor responds.
“Who the fuck is this guy anyway?” #32 asks.
“He’s a recruit. He stayed with us instead of leaving with the rest,” Jeremy answers from behind a large desk, as he and Douchington block off the stairwell door.
“Wait,” Scarecrow pauses, recalling the collision with Zed outside, “Why was Zed out there?”
“He wanted out. So he got out,” Jeremy replies, clearly begrudged, “It was also our only way to tip you off to make a run for it. Honestly, part of me is surprised he even held that part up.”
“Why wouldn’t he?” Scarecrow asks.
“He hasn't… been quite with us, while you guys were inside,” Jeremy answers.
“He didn’t agree with the methods,” Douchington adds.
“Well, this does seem a little extreme. But I guess I don’t really know what's going on.”
“What’s going on…” CMPunk jumps into the conversation, much to everyone's dismay, “...is that TheRisen has been brainwashing and corrupting our government, under the guise of FluidAnims. And it’s up to us to fight back.”
“I swear to Jeus, CMPunk!” Douchington yells, pressing his temples, “If you mention him one more time...”
“If you mention him one more time,” Nish interrupts, patting Douchington on the shoulder as if to console him, “I’m going to skin you alive. Wear your flesh as a suit. Then proceed to FUCKING RAPE YOU! And if you haven’t died by that point, I’ll proceed to rape your special ed fucking family too.”
“It’s true,” Scarecrow adds, “I was an NTF. I’ve seen his criminal record.”
“But think about it,” CMPunk continues, despite the threats, “TheRisen trashed the economy. He drained and took off with the federal reserve, forcing us to reset all the banks and shit. That made us weak. Who’s gaining the most on that? FluidAnims. Did we ever catch him? No. He’s obviously Stone. Or Jeff. Or maybe they are just his pawns!”

Nish, not one to let his promises fall flat, grabs CMPunk by the collar and slams him up against the wall, while simultaneously retrieving a large serrated knife from the inside of his jacket. “Holy shit,” #32 says, almost knocked over by the locomotive that is Nish.
“Leave him,” Jeremy orders, pulling the knife away from CMPunk’s chest. Sacred enters the news room, running his hand through his hair anxiously, until his eyes fall on Cavalier, still kneeling in the center of the room.

“Whoa! What the fuck?!” he yells, jumping at the sight.
“You guys didn’t know about that yet?” Scarecrow asks, finding the irony slightly amusing.
“No, we were downstairs the whole time,” Sacred answers, “Why didn’t you tell us about this?”
“Why?” Douchington retorts, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’ve been pretty busy dodging the proverbial shit since it hit the fan.”
Sacred swells with anger, “Well maybe there would be no proverbial shit to dodge, if we didn’t fucking start killing people!”
“Whoa, man.” Devour pushes Sacred back, sensing the end of his rope coming, “Lets just take a seat over here.”

“Great rescue plan you had here Jeremy,” #32 says, leaning back against the control panel and gripping his thigh. The leg of his orange jumpsuit had been turned red with blood, though the wound had coagulated enough to stop the bleeding for the time being.
“Let’s just stop pointing fingers long enough to get ourselves out of here,” Jeremy says, brushing off #32’s sarcasm, “Alright?”

“Raptor.” he says, after receiving agreement, “This is your building, what would you suggest?”
“I dont know. The tunnel and ground floor are both off limits I guess. Roof?” he replies.
“Helicopter.” Scarecrow mentions.
“You sure?” Jeremy asks.
“Yes. We fucking saw it.” #32 responds irritably.

A loud impact from the stairwell door interrupts the conversation. The heavy desk does it’s job, keeping the door closed, though it’s knocked slightly farther away as each enforcer throws his body weight into the door.

“Shit… CMPunk, call the elevator.” Jeremy orders, desperately hoping the lift arrives before the cops do.
“Where the fuck are we going to go when it gets here?” Douchington asks, turning his attention back from the stairwell.
“The roof,” Jeremy announces, fully knowing that it was a bad idea, as well as the end of the line. But there were no other options left. Raptor raises the camera back up and reestablishes the live broadcast.

Outside the building, the SkyTV flickers back to life, immediately grabbing Oxob and Jombo’s attention. WarCorrespondent had left to take part in the raid of the entrance. After a few seconds of static clear, the SkyTV once again displays a clear picture. Jeremy and three of his crewmen were onscreen, guns focused down the hallway in front of them. This time, Jeremy did not appear to be in control. He was panicked. He didn’t show it to the rest of his men, but Oxob could tell.

“What’s going on now?” Jombo asks.
“This is bad,” Oxob replies, “Don’t tell me they’re going to martyr themselves on TV.”
“You think that’s it?” Jombo asks skeptically.

Oxob removes a radio from his waist, “WarCorrespondent.” The radio emits static in place of a response. “WarCorrespondent.” he repeats.
“What?” he finally buzzes back over the radio.
“Do not open fire on them,” Oxob orders, “They-”

He’s interrupted by a prominent ding blasting through the SkyTV speakers. The camera spins around to display the elevator and another of Jeremy’s men. The doors open and the cameraman hurries over to the elevator before turning back, just as the stairwell door bursts open. The first two officers into the hall are quickly dropped by the incoming rubber bullets, though they were immediately followed by more men, quickly filling the hallway and returning fire. Jeremy and his men break away and run back toward the camera, and into the elevator. #32’s retreat is slowed greatly by his wounded leg. Realising he won’t be able to make it to the elevator, he stops and turns toward the police as they pour into the newsroom. Dropping to his knees and placing his hands on his head, he repeatedly shouts “Alright, alright, I surrender!” as he’s quickly surrounded. One of the approaching officers, without displaying as much as a second thought, fires a single round through his forehead, before turning his attention to the cameraman. “Come on!” somebody yells from offscreen as the camera jerks and then falls to the ground, landing on its side. Some of the officers rush across the room as the elevator dings again and the doors close.

Oxob and Jombo both stand in shock outside the building. The civilian crowd around the barricade bursts into outrage, shouting obscenities and throwing things. The reactions among the police themselves varied widely, from angry outcries, to joyful cheers. Oxob tosses the radio to the side, shaking his head. It no longer mattered what the outcome of this particular situation came to be. Jeremy was getting his war.

The elevator opens atop the roof and a strong wind gusts through the doors, accompanied by the deafening sound of rotors above them. Jeremy raises his arm, blocking his face from the gust as he analyzes the scene. There was indeed a helicopter waiting for them at the top. The side door was open, with two armed men leaning out and guns drawn in their direction. No doubt the same was true on the other side as well. A news chopper sat on the helipad across the roof. The stairwell exited onto the roof right underneath the helipad, built into its base. Perhaps they could fly out, but it’s doubtful the keys would be inside, and they probably wouldn’t make it far under fire from another helicopter. There’s also the problem of lacking a pilot as well, but he figures taking off and maneuvering would be manageable enough. Landing could be worried about when the time came. Nish, 2-D, and Devour were the first to leave the elevator enclosure, opening fire on the helicopter as soon as they step out. The rest of the group ducks back inside, hiding around the corners as the helicopter returns fire. The tactical armor of the men in the helicopter provides more than adequate protection against the non-lethal ammunition, the two of them taking numerous hits without the need to retreat into the chopper for cover. Jeremy steps out of the elevator with a shotgun, most of the fire focused on the other three, and fires a beanbag straight into the face-mask of the forward-most helicopter shooter. The impact knocks his head back, and he grabs blindly for the side as he tips forward and out of the chopper. “Jomm!” the other yells, attempting to grab him. Taking notice of the downed FAg, Nish kicks the man's weapon away, sending it sliding off the roof. As he climbs back to his feet, and unlatches the bloody face mask from his helmet, Nish tosses his own MP5 to the side and cracks his knuckles “Come at me bro.” Jomm grunts as he lunges forward and charges, keeping his center of gravity low. Nish steps into a defensive position, taking his own low stance to absorb the full force of Jomm’s impact.

The helicopter slowly pivots above them to bring the shooters on the other side into action. Devour opens fire on the windshield. The rubber bullets, again, prove useless, serving only to scare the piss out of the pilot as he needlessly ducks behind the instrument cluster. Three faint pops, immediately followed by three holes punching through the helicopter’s windshield, send the chopper into a heavy right side bank, colliding into the news helicopter. The rooftop lights up as the fuel tanks ignite, sending flames and debris across the entire roof, before the flames recede around the wreckage.
“Dude, when did you get real ammo?” Douchington asks from behind Devour, jaw agape. “I didn’t,” he turns back, with genuine surprise.

The whir of helicopter rotors did not end with the crash. It only grew louder as a large black streak blurred over their heads from behind. It stopped over the center of the roof, the top of the flames tickling the bottom of the old Blackhawk as it turns, bringing Ashlander into view, kneeling behind the sliding door with an M16.
“Oh shit, I’m glad to see that!” Nish cheers, as he tightens a chokehold around Jomm’s neck, who’s clawing for freedom.
“There’s no room for a landing,” the pilot, Jaso, shouts into the back of the helicopter. The wreckage on the helipad, as well as the debris scattered across the the roof, left no room for a conventional touchdown. The smoke from the burning rubble also limited visibility and made attempting a landing even more hazardous.

The door to the stairwell under the helipad swings open violently, bouncing off the outside wall. Smile, acting as pointman, ventures out onto the roof first, shouting at Jeremy and the others to put their weapons down. He’s closely followed by WarCorrespondent and Jessepinwheel, both suited up in kevlar vests and armed with automatic weapons. Ashlander quickly fires another three-round burst, immediately taking Smile down, as Jaso maneuvers the helicopter closer to the roof. The rest of the assault team opens fire as they exit the stairwell. “To the choppa!” Nish bellows through the smoke, throwing a bloody fist up. Jeremy and the rest run toward the helicopter, Devour and 2-D firing blindly to the side. Ashlander watches everyone approach from the side of the Blackhawk, as Devour disappears into the smoke after a secondary explosion. Hearing the blast, Sacred stops to look back. Devour laid unconscious, a large gash across his forehead, and metal fragments scattered nearby.

The smoke began to clear as Ashlander assisted 2-D into the helicopter, leaving only Sacred and Devour. The moment Sacred became visible, dragging Devour behind, the roof once again erupted into gunfire. Sacred keeps his head low and tries to stay behind any cover he can, ducking behind ventilation ducts and exhaust fans. “Help!” Sacred screams across the roof, unable to drag Devour through the gunfire. Ashlander scrambles back to the side of the helicopter after Nish hurls himself back out the side. Jessepinwheel and the rest of the fire team scatter behind cover as Ashlander fires on them, 5.56mm rounds whizzing past their heads. WarCorrespondent, left in the open alone, briefly follows Nish across the roof with the barrel of his assault rifle, until a glimmer catches his eye around Ashlander’s neck. That’s right, he’s the Medal of Honor guy, WarCorrespondent thinks to himself, throwing his aim back towards Ashlander, who ducks back behind the sliding door. Frustrated with WarCorrespondent’s persistence, Ashlander pops out from the side of the helicopter, gripping a small green object in his hand. He hurls it into the air, and WarCorrespondent watches the M61 hand grenade land a few feet in front of him with a slight bounce. “Shit.” he mumbles, backing into the stairwell and throwing the door closed to block the blast. Sacred gets Devour back up with the assistance of Nish, just as the M61 goes off, blowing the stairwell door clean off the hinges and down the stairs. “Whoa, shit!” Nish is caught by surprise as they carry Devour to the chopper.

“Let’s go!” Ashlander pounds behind the cockpit, after everyone was securely in the helicopter.
“How did you find us?” Jeremy yells over the rotors.
“You know you were on every TV in Stickpage, right?” Ashlander shouts back.

Ashlander
03-03-2012, 12:23 PM
Reserved for updates

Ashlander
03-03-2012, 12:24 PM
reserved for updates.

Ashlander
03-03-2012, 12:24 PM
reserved for updates

Dield
03-03-2012, 06:08 PM
Cool story, putting the merge in therms of countrys was brilliant.

Smile
03-03-2012, 07:06 PM
Man, you make Jeff sound like Stone's bitch.

Btw, pretty cool story there.

A prologue would be nice. Something about SP getting low number of members that eventually made CJ hire Stone.

Then the story starts.

Jeff
03-03-2012, 07:09 PM
Yeah I don't really have that kind of relationship with Stone.

It's good, but there are some grammatical mistakes and the plot jumps around strangely. It's interesting to read.

Ashlander
03-04-2012, 01:29 PM
Man, you make Jeff sound like Stone's bitch.

Btw, pretty cool story there.

A prologue would be nice. Something about SP getting low number of members that eventually made CJ hire Stone.

Then the story starts.
We're leaving it open for prequel stories for most of the characters. The reset will be told in one or two of those if they're made.


Yeah I don't really have that kind of relationship with Stone.

It's good, but there are some grammatical mistakes and the plot jumps around strangely. It's interesting to read.
Thats part of the reason we wanted some help from the FA guys. We dont know alot about most of you, or your relationships with each other. And it probably will jump around a bit just due to the different groups of charactors, but we'll try to keep it pretty streamlined.

Sacred
03-04-2012, 05:58 PM
Quit your bitchin and enjoy the story. ;)

Ashlander
03-04-2012, 06:09 PM
Btw, i got almost half the 2nd chapter done already. I think its quite good.

Sacred
03-08-2012, 10:21 PM
Bow chika bow wow.

Ashlander
03-10-2012, 04:26 PM
Part 2
Authors: Ashlander, Sacred (editing)

Stone sits behind the stage setup in the middle of Park Central, waiting for TheSaw to call his name. Three gigantic screens set up on the back wall obstruct the public's view of the speakers getting prepared in the back, as well as give the crowd a better view of the current speaker. A week after the big announcement, Stone and TheSaw were finally announcing the first newly promoted public official, to serve as one of the main lawmakers. The assembly drew in a slightly larger crowd than they had anticipated, likely due to the recent rumor's of FluidAnims taking or replacing most of the positions being opened. These rumors of course, were true. Jombo, chosen for his service as a police officer in FluidAnims, was being inducted into office today. Stone approached the new official, and handed him some que cards to read when its his turn to speak. Stone will be introducing him as soon as TheSaw is done speaking and calls him up.

"You'll be fine." Stone tells Jombo, patting him on the back. "Just keep to the cards until you've got some more speeches under your belt."
"Thanks, I appreciate this promotion." Jombo says, skimming over the cards and mentally preparing himself for facing a large crowd for the first time.
"Well I know you've served us well in the past. I know you won't let us down here." Stone reassures him, just before he's called up to the stage.

"Stone, you're up." His assistant yells from the side of the stage. Stone hops up the steps and around one of the tall speakers, to now face the mass of Stickpage citizens crowded in front of the stage. "Whoa, there's alot more then there was when I peeked out earlier" he thought to himself as he made his way to the podium.

"All yours, Stone." TheSaw says, handing him the microphone.
"Thank you 'Saw." Stone nods, before taking his position behind the podium. "Hello again Stickpage. Today I will be introducing a man that has served us well on the streets of FluidAnims as a police officer. He has proved himself time and time again, and as a former cop, he has alot of experience with laws, order, and justice. I believe he will make a fine addition to the panel of law advisers. Please everybody, give a big hand to the man we've come here for today, Jombo."

Jombo nervously steps up onto the stage, and peers out across the crowd. Handing the microphone over to Jombo, Stone and TheSaw take position to the far left of the stage as Jombo approaches the podium. "So uh, hello everybody." Jombo flips through the que cards trying to find the first one again. After finding it, he clears his throat, and begins reading. "I'm sure some of you are skeptical about outsiders running certain aspects of your country, but I assure you, you're in good hands. FluidAnims ran like a well oiled mach-" Jombo was cut off mid-sentence by a loud pop from the speakers, followed by the three screens behind him going blank. After a few seconds, part of a music track started blasting through the speakers. "We're not gunna take it! No, we ain't gunna take it! We're not gunna take it, anymore!" Jombo turned to see the Stickpage flag now displayed on all three monitors behind him "...what the hell?"

Stone yells to his assistant, "Fix this, shut the feed down!"
"I did!" The assistant yells back, holding up the laptop they were directing the feed from. "It's being controlled from somewhere else!"

The sound of an old misfiring V8 engine screamed over the music, from the far right of the stage. A large panel van roared through the park, kicking chucks of dirt and grass up from the rear tires. Old and rusted, the van swerves around a couple camera crewman, forcing the weight of the van to one side, almost to the point of tipping due to the worn suspension. The driver compensates, and slides the vehicle against the side of the stage. The impact shook the whole structure, knocking everybody on it off their feet. TheSaw falls against one of the speakers, catching himself from going over the edge of the stage. Jombo only makes it back up to one knee, before a man from the audience climbs onto the stage, shoves the security guard over the edge, and grabs Jombo from behind pressing a pistol to the side of his head. "Everybody stay back! Don't fucking move!" The man yells, his identity hidden by a pair of sunglasses and a baseball cap.

"What's going on here?!" Stone asks, throwing his hands up as he climbs back to his feet.
"Put the gun down, we can talk about this." TheSaw shouts over the speakers. "I said dont move mother fuckers! I will blow this FAgs head clear off!" shouts the gunman, pushing the pistol harder against Jombo's head. Smoke escapes into the air, as the back doors of the van are swung open. Many keyboards were mounted on the interior walls of the van, along with various sized monitors and countless cords. As the smoke fades, a long-haired man presses a key on one of the keyboards, before leaning out and removing a joint from his mouth. "Come on man, lets go! Get him in the damn van!"

"Oh, hell no." Jombo struggles to get away, until taking a hit to the temple, and falling back against his assailant. The gunman grabs his collar and quickly drags Jombo across the stage to the van, keeping the pistol focused on Stone and TheSaw. "Sorry 'Saw." He says, as Jombo is pulled into the van. The gunman throws TheSaw a quick salute, before following into the back of the van, slamming the doors shut behind him as the van peels off.

"What was that all about?" Stone yells at TheSaw, waiving towards the van as it peels across the park. "Who was that?! Why did he salute you?"
"That guy in the van looked like Scarecrow, he was an NTF back in the day. I didn't recognize the other guy." TheSaw responds, watching security scramble into a dark SUV. The engine fired up and took off across the field after the van.
"Good job with that little message, Scarecrow. Love that song." Gyodon says, patting him on the shoulder.
"I thought it was appropriate."
"Got the mother fucker?" A voice asks from the drivers seat of the van.
"Got him, he's out cold. What exactly is Jeremy planning to do with him?" Gyodon replies.
"No idea. I dont think there's much of a plan after the initial 'We dont take no shit' message he was trying to get across with this." #32 says, as he drifts the van off the grass of Park Central, and onto one of the main highways of Stickpaeg City. The engine sputters and backfires as #32 floors the accelerator, speeding past the other vehicles in the thirty-five mile per hour zone. "By the way, you guys better tie that bitch up before he comes to." he adds, tossing a roll of duct-tape back. "Dont need him choking out the driver or some shit, right?"
"Better you than us." Scarecrow jokes, binding Jombo's wrists. Before he's able to tie up his feet, the van suddenly jerks forward, knocking Scarecrow up against the the back of #32's seat.
"The fuck was that?" #32 yells back, regaining control of the swerving vehicle.
"It's that SUV from the speech, must be security." Gyodon says, peering out the back window, as he cocks his pistol.
"Well, get rid of them asshole!"
"Shut the fuck up and drive asshole! We'll take care of the van." Gyodon insists, unlatching one of the rear doors, as the SUV backs off to ram them again.

Grabbing hold of the handle on the other door, Gyodon leans out, and fires a couple rounds at the driver. The bullets ricocheted off the bullet-proof windshield, doing nothing but scaring the hell out of the apparently rookie driver. "Fuckin-A." Gyodon grumbles, "Windshield is bullet-proof!". After taking another pot-shot at the front tires, the SUV swerves a couple feet onto the curb, and then back, ramming into the side of the van. Gyodon slips out the door, losing his gun onto the highway. He would have followed it, had it not been for Scarecrow grabbing his jacket. After pulling him safely back into the van, Scarecrow opens a drawer under one of the computer monitors, and removes a long-barreled revolver. "Holy shit son, what do you need a gun like that for?" Gyodon asks, shocked at the size of the firearm. "You never know when you'll be chased by an SUV full of angry FAgs." Scarecrow replies, loading five fifty-caliber rounds into the cylinder of the Magnum Research BFR. "Alright then, lets see if you can actually hold this piece of shit steady, #32." Scarecrow snaps the cylinder back into place taking a knee near the rear door, as he draws the BFR. One pull of the trigger punches a large hole through both, the radiator and engine block of the SUV, spraying coolant and steam from under of the hood and the front wheel wells. The SUV pulls to the right, colliding with another vehicle, which spins off onto the sidewalk and into one of the shop windows. Scarecrow follows a front tire with the ironsight atop the revolver, and squeezes the trigger one more time. The tire bursts, trailing the SUV hard to the right, smashing into a lightpost and flipping it on end.

"FUCK YEAH! FUCK! YEAH! Eat it mother fuckers!" Gyodon yells out the door.
"Man, shooting that gun takes alot out of you." Scarecrow says falling back onto the bench, and digs around the drawer underneath him from another joint.
"Man, your a fucking pussy." #32 says looking back from the drivers seat, as he flies through a highway intersection, just before a hard impact throws the van onto its side. Shattered glass fills the cabin as the van rolls over onto its roof and slides across the highway, eventually rolling onto the other side. "Move, move!" FluidAnims forces pour out of the APC that collided with them, and have the van surrounded, sub-machine guns drawn, before it even comes to a complete stop.

Jeff
03-10-2012, 09:04 PM
I like this so far. I'm not sure whether you're going for an accurate depiction of the real-world events, but a lot of this seems incredibly embellished. Doesn't matter, really, just thought I'd point it out lmao.

Also if you need any fact-checking done, just PM me. I can answer whatever

Scarecrow
03-10-2012, 11:05 PM
classic scarecrow

Smile
03-10-2012, 11:26 PM
Cool story, but why is Jombo the only one getting inducted? Oxob, Warcorrespondent and Jomm are global mods. Maybe you'll add them later in the story, but it just feels that Jombo is the only one that is given a fuck atm.

Other than that, looking pretty cool.

Zed
03-11-2012, 01:55 AM
brandishing a half empty bottle of vodka.


half empty bottle of vodka.


bottle of vodka.

Ahem. (http://www.arenaflowers.com/product_image/large/1241-bombay_sapphire_gin.jpg)













half empty bottle of vodka.

?

baloon
03-11-2012, 04:29 AM
haha wow jombo ran away cool story

Ashlander
03-11-2012, 07:47 AM
I like this so far. I'm not sure whether you're going for an accurate depiction of the real-world events, but a lot of this seems incredibly embellished. Doesn't matter, really, just thought I'd point it out lmao.

Also if you need any fact-checking done, just PM me. I can answer whatever
Well it is a story, its gotta be entertaining right? But yeah, we're trying to base as much off real-world events as we can. One of which will take place in the next chapter.


classic scarecrow
I thought you'd appreciate having the BFR again.


Cool story, but why is Jombo the only one getting inducted? Oxob, Warcorrespondent and Jomm are global mods. Maybe you'll add them later in the story, but it just feels that Jombo is the only one that is given a fuck atm.

Other than that, looking pretty cool.
He's only the first one, and the only one I really see around, so he's the only one i really know. Any inaccuracies in the FA charactors coming later is only FA's fault for not pitching in.


Ahem.
Its booze. Dont pretend your picky.

Smile
03-13-2012, 12:50 AM
Jeff said he would answer any questions, so don't blame FA people.

I think you can ask anyone from FA, I think all of us know them. OR, you can go to the OFFICIAL stickpage IRC channel and ask the people there.

Sacred
03-13-2012, 06:46 AM
Lol we're just writing a story. We're not gonna go interview everyone from FA about what they're like.

Cavaliere
03-14-2012, 02:40 PM
Keep up the good work! All this excellent storytelling makes me anxious...I'm going to be writing part of the story soon enough, and I'm going to have to compare with this caliber of wordiness.

Travis
03-14-2012, 04:06 PM
just remember that alot of us were here before the SPP FA merge...

great story btw

Smile
03-27-2012, 07:51 PM
Any progress on this?

Ashlander
03-27-2012, 08:38 PM
Waiting on Sacred, he's doing the next chapter or two.

iffy12
05-08-2012, 11:01 PM
Loved how you left us at a cliffhanger. Great story too. So when do you think you will be done with the third part?

Smile
05-09-2012, 05:25 PM
Sacred hasn't been on for quite some time now. It would really suck if this won't be finished.

MadMirrors
05-09-2012, 05:29 PM
maybe he got banned

Sacred
05-29-2012, 07:48 PM
Just recently got back onto Stickpage. Now that Summer is here I have more time on my hands to write. Will create the next part when I get the chance.

Major apologies to Ashlander for leaving him hanging. I take the blame for holding this story up.

Smile
05-31-2012, 04:55 AM
Just recently got back onto Stickpage. Now that Summer is here I have more time on my hands to write. Will create the next part when I get the chance.

Major apologies to Ashlander for leaving him hanging. I take the blame for holding this story up.

That's great news. I thought this was dead.

Ashlander
08-25-2012, 05:12 PM
Say what?

Part 3
Authors: Ashlander

"Bring him in." The jailhouse warden says, holding the door into the visiting room open. "Scarecrow, you're in booth fourteen. You have five minutes."

A prison guard tugs Scarecrow through the doorway by the chain fastened to the handcuffs that keep his arms bound in front of him. Scarecrow notices Gyodon sitting in booth number nine. He was speaking to a man he had never seen before, and spoke in broken english. It was safe to assume he was a foreigner, which was odd. Scarecrow wasn't aware that Gyodon knew anybody outside Stickpage. A few paces later he had arrived at booth fourteen. The prison guard latched his end of the chain to the wall of the booth, before allowing Scarecrow to sit and wait for his visiter.

"Well... that almost worked. What was the plan after getting T-boned by the APC." Jeremy voices up as he steps into his side of the booth before taking a seat on the other side of bullet-proof glass.
"Yeah, well you can thank #32's fancy driving for that." Scarecrow responds. "What are you going to do to get us out of here?"
"There isn't anything I can do. It's out of my hands. I'll see if I can persuade the right people to get you guys a lesser sentence at the trial tomorrow." Jeremy says, standing up.
"Wait, thats it? You're just going to leave us in here?"
"Hey!" Jeremy yells shoving his seat into the booth, drawing attention from the surrounding visitors, "...We were going to deal with the FA occupation as a team. You guys ran off on your own and messed everything up. Things will have to wait until you two are released. Hopefully that's sooner then later with good behavior. Tell Gyodon I'll do what I can, but you two will likely be here for a while."

Jeremy steps out of the booth and heads towards the exit. "Yes, I know where the fucking door is, asshole." Jeremy assures the visitor side guard gesturing towards the door.

"...Guard!" Scarecrow shouts, waiting to be brought back to his cell.
"What did the Jer' say?" Gyodon asks, as Scarecrow is escorted past him.
"We're fucked, basically, is what he said." Scarecrow replies, looking into Gyodon's booth. His visitor was gone as well, must be waiting for his escort.
"I see. His loyalties lie with the cause, not his friends."

The next day...

The courtroom was a full house, people were lined up against the back wall because there were no places left to sit. Everybody was there, the new FluidAnim politians, members of law enforcement, friends of the three on trial. Jombo sat in the first row of benches, bruised and battered from the accident, but brave enough to face his captors.

"These three, #32, Scarecrow, and Gyodon, have been charged with first degree assault and battery, abduction, damage to public property, wreckless driving, and conspiracy." The judge says facing the crowded courtroom before shooting the jury a glance. "Has the jury come to a verdict on these charges?"

The jury, made up primarily of new FluidAnims citizens, just returned from a record breaking short deliberation.
"Yes we have your honor." One of them spoke up as he stood up in the corner. "We, the jury, find all defendants guilty on all charges, and we recommend the max sentence allowed by law."
"I understand." The judge said. "I hearby exile Gyodon from Stickpage, and sentence Scarecrow and #32 to 30 years without parole. Gyodon is to be escorted outside of Stickpage as soon as possible, and is prohibited from re-entering its borders."

The gavel sounds, making it official.

"Shit." Scarecrow says outloud.
"Jesus..." Jeremy mumbled, as the room fell silent. The sentences were much worse then initially anticipated. Sitting in the back, he lowered his head, trying to contemplate a new course of action.
"Oh fuck no!" Gyodon shouts at the biased jury. "This is not over! I will be back. SPP FOREV-" Gyodon is interupted by a baillif grabbing his arm and pulling him out of his chair. "Calm down sir and lets go."
"Man get the fuck off me!" Gyodon shoves the bailiff away, before taking a botan hit to the back the head by another guard. "Everyone clear out! There's nothing left to see."

The courtroom fills with the roar of chatter and footsteps as people stand to head to the exit. Jeremy stands from his seat and heads towards the other side of the courtroom, scanning everybodies face as he passes to make sure he doesn't miss who he's looking for. Sure enough, he still sits in the bench, waiting for the crowd to die down before even attempting to leave.

"Ashlander." Jeremy addresses the man as he approuches.
"Yeah, whats up Jeremy?" He replies.
"You were in the military weren't you?"

Smile
08-25-2012, 11:32 PM
I guess I'll have to read part 2 again to refresh my brain.

EDIT: Great job with the part 3.

Sacred
08-26-2012, 07:18 PM
If you're planning on actually continuing this, I wish you luck writing partner. <3

Ashlander
08-27-2012, 06:11 PM
Dont know yet. I dont know any FA guys, that was kind of the point of it being a collab, as its supposed to be told from both points of view. And seeing as the next chapter is largely based on them, i dont see me getting much done without some FA help.

Fries
09-01-2012, 02:35 PM
That was awesome. Thanks for the great story.

ninjaman
09-02-2012, 11:00 AM
Purty good story so far... 'least I think.

Not_Nish
10-24-2012, 12:30 PM
This story is bullshit for not reflecting what a huge role I played during this entire saga. Apart from that, its pretty fucking cool.

*Coughhighprofilebadasscameocough*

Ashlander
10-24-2012, 12:36 PM
I suppose i should finish the next chapter sometimeish huh.

Ashlander
08-25-2014, 03:45 AM
Part 4

“You don’t need to go Jombo. We have plenty of other guys that can come.” says Oxob, who is leading the escort team.
“I know, but at the moment I’m still a cop. It’s my duty, and I want people to know that this kind of behavior won’t just scare us away.” Jombo says, pulling his combat boots on. Both men are dressed in black tactical gear, as are the other few officers still prepping in the locker room. An MP5 rests on the bench at Jombo's side, loaded with rubber bullets. “Alright. They’re bringing the prisoner out soon. I’m going to go brief the rest of team.” Oxob says sliding his 9mm pistol into its holster. He grabs his own MP5 from the gun cabinet, before patting Jombo on the shoulder and heading down the hall. After getting suited up, Jombo heads to the garage, where he finds the police van he’ll be riding in. He hears Gyodon before he can even see him “Stop yanking on my chains mother fucker! I can fucking walk!” Gyodon is pulled out of an elevator and into the garage by two officers, then lead to the back of the van. Gyodon spits on one of their uniforms before stepping up into the back, “...ya fucking, fucks.” Jombo steps up into the van behind him, followed by the other two officers. Oxob enters the garage followed by about 15 others in setup in riot gear and armed with MP5s and bean bag loaded shotguns. He signals one of the officers, who quickly gets into a squad car, and pulls ahead of the van. Oxob and the rest will be walking beside the vehicles to fend off any interferences. The officer in the car hits the garage door opener, and the large steel door slowly rises.

A large crowd is gathered outside the exit, shouting and throwing their fists in the air. It quickly grew too loud for conventional communication amongst each other, though that could partially be contributed to by the echoing throughout the garage. “Let him go!” and “Go back to FA!” were common shouts from the crown, many protesters used more colorful variants. Worried that things will get out of control, Oxob orders his men to ready their weapons. One man takes a step into the garage and throws an empty bottle at one of the officers, then takes a bean bag shot to the chest, knocking him back into the crowd. The act of violence just enrages the crowd even more.

“Oh man…” sighs Oxob, “I should’ve been in the truck.”
“Sergeant?” One of the other officers looks questionably at him.
“Move out.” He replies, keeping the MP5 readied.

The crowd dispersed a little when the police started advancing. The squad car pulled out slowly, followed by the van, and surrounded by the armed officers. The crowd splits to the sides of the street, keeping distance from the FluidAnim cops. “At least they’re making a hole for us…” Oxob thinks to himself, before getting on the radio and telling them to bring more officers out.

Gyodon sits in the back of the van, peering at the crowd through the windows “You see those people out there? They will never give in to you guys. You clowns will never amount to anything here.” Gyodon taunts Jombo from his chains.
“We will be doing more than you while we’re here, I can assure you that, Gyodon.” Jombo says leaning against the back doors. “We’re not coming here to mess Stickpage up. Some of us don’t want it anymore than you do.”
“Yet, here you are. Messing things up. We were fine before you guys showed up.” Gyodon said, eyebrows ruffled.
“Your economy is failing. Your government barely has Stickpage under control. Crime is high. All because of one guy. Yeah, sounds like everything was fine.” Jombo glances out the window, “Outside, that is not because they care about you. That is because there is no order here.”

Sacred sat on a bench, closely watched by Stickpage immigration officers. He had just returned from exploring the ruins of StickSlaughter. The border has been closed to everybody except Stickpage and FluidAnims citizens until the merge is complete. Sacred, having lost his proof of citizenship during his trip, had to call an old friend to come and help him get through.

“Hey, Sacred. How’s it going?” Devour says, walking down the hall towards him.
“Sup, Dev. Sorry about all this man. They just won’t let me in without some kind of proof.”
“It’s cool man. I did like you said and picked up some of the mail from your house to show you’re a resident.”

Devour handed a couple envelopes showing Sacreds name and address to one of the immigration officers. The officer looked them over, stamped Sacred’s papers, and waved him up the counter. “Are you two brothers?” He asks, stuffing everything into a folder and handing it to Sacred. “No, we’re not.” They both say, almost in unison.

After leaving the immigration office the two of them get into a taxi. “Take us to central Stickpaeg, please.” Devour says, sliding into the cab first.

“What’s going on? People seem pretty uptight right now. And why are the borders closed?” Sacred asks after closing the door. The taxi gets onto the main freeway leading into the city.
“You havent heard? Stickpage is merging with FluidAnims. Everybody is talking about it, most of them are pissed.”
“What? Why would they do that? How do you feel about it? Are they being pretty cool?” Sacred asks, shocked at the news.
“Honestly, as long as they can become productive members of society here, I don’t really mind.” Devour answers with a shrug.
“What about Snowy? How does she like it?”
“Snowy?” Devour pauses, “Snowy died on a cruiseship last year. Nobody really knows what happened.”
“Oh shit, man. Im sorry, I didnt know.” Sacred says, putting his hand to his forehead. This really isn't turning out to be the cab ride he was expecting. “How are you taking that?”
“Well, it was a while ago, I’ve accepted it.” The two sat in silence for what seemed like much longer than ten minutes.
“Hey… you guys are, eh… twins? Yes?” The foreign taxi driver asks into the rear view mirror, breaking the silence. Sacred and Devour just glance at each other with a grin.
“Yeah man. We’re twins.” Sacred says, expecting it to shut him up.
“So you like… can mind speak. Yeah?” Sacred and Devour both facepalm into their windows.

The taxi exits off the freeway, and after turning into downtown Stickpaeg, is forced to a stop. The road is blocked by large groups of people stretching across the street. They are held at bay by police officers in riot gear standing behind orange wooden barricades. A squad car leads a police van down the road behind them with armed guards on either side. Devour throws a twenty dollar bill up to the driver and tells him to just drop them off there. After getting out of the cab the two approach the crowd.

“Whats going on?” Devour shouts over the crowds roar.
“Gyodon got exiled. They’re taking him to the border now.” a man to their left yells back.
“What the hell? Exiled?” Sacred says.
“It’s those damn FAgs. They’re getting rid of anyone who doesn’t agree with them.” the man yells again.
“How can they do that? I thought CrazyJay or TheSaw had to approve an exile. I doubt they’d approve of that for whatever Gyodon did.” Sacred says to Devour.
“Well, they did approve it. Alot has changed while you’ve been gone.”

The escort convoy reached the border by 2:30 in the afternoon. “Better late than never…” Jombo says in the back of the van. “Speak for yourself.” Gyodon snaps at him. The back doors swing open and Oxob stands with a key for his chains, “Get out, this is your stop. Hope you got a ride somewhere.” Gyodon steps down. He notices most of the armed escorts are gone, probably detached after they left the hostile cities. “You’ve caused quite a stir, I hope your proud.” Oxob says, undoing Gyodon’s chains. Gyodon steps off to the side of the van to see a long chain link fence. In front of the van sits a building with a gate to the east side, which the road follows out. The cities of Newgrounds are faintly visible in the distance, much closer to the border then Stickpage’s. The road forks a few miles out and heads off to the south towards 4chan. There are a couple vehicles parked in the small parking lot in front of the building. The people who work there must live in one of the small nearby towns, otherwise they would have a very lengthy commute. One of the vehicles parked in the lot doesn’t fit in with the rest. It’s an old, battered, and rusty truck of a make and model not commonly seen in Stickpage.

“Good. That shifty son of a bitch IS here.” Gyodon says stepping towards the lot. The four officers stand and watch Gyodon enter the vehicle as the border’s gate is raised.

Smile
08-25-2014, 04:49 AM
haha what can someone tl;dr chapters 1-3 for me please.

Scarecrow
08-25-2014, 05:34 AM
parts 1-3 (abridged version for FUCKERS who are too lazy to read it)

>the merge has been announced
>stickpagians are not cool with it
>jeremy submits demands that FA users should not be put in positions of power in SP
>demands rejected
>SP rebels take jombo hostage during his moderator induction speech
>fail to escape, get captured
>gyohdon exiled, scarecrow and #32 imprisoned
>jeremy can't do anything to get them out

Ashlander
08-25-2014, 05:50 AM
I made a bunch of corrections to 1-3 and some mild edits too, so it might be worth a re-read. Nothing big has changed though, so its completely optional. Mostly just rewording things that sounded weird and adding some jokes/references.

Scarecrow
08-25-2014, 05:54 AM
just read the new part - woo, the story continues. let me know if you want a proofreader or a collaborator, i got free time. some C&C: the dialogue and events are great and I would love to know where this is going. one thing is bugging me though: when you're switching scenes, it sometimes takes a bit of effort to understand where and when the new events are taking place. you need some transition. an example of this - when you changed scenes here:


Gyodon sits in the back of the van, peering at the crowd through the windows “You see those people out there? They will never give in to you guys. You clowns will never amount to anything here.” Gyodon taunts Jombo from his chains.
“We will be doing more than you while we’re here, I can assure you that, Gyodon.” Jombo says leaning against the back doors. “We’re not coming here to mess Stickpage up. Some of us don’t want it anymore than you do.”
“Yet, here you are. Messing things up. We were fine before you guys showed up.” Gyodon said, eyebrows ruffled.
“Your economy is failing. Your government barely has Stickpage under control. Crime is high. All because of one guy. Yeah, sounds like everything was fine.” Jombo glances out the window, “Outside, that is not because they care about you. That is because there is no order here.”

Sacred sat on a bench, closely watched by Stickpage immigration officers. He had just returned from exploring the ruins of StickSlaughter. The border has been closed to everybody except Stickpage and FluidAnims citizens until the merge is complete. Sacred, having lost his proof of citizenship during his trip, had to call an old friend to come and help him get through.

it would have been clearer if you had done something like this:


Gyodon sits in the back of the van, peering at the crowd through the windows “You see those people out there? They will never give in to you guys. You clowns will never amount to anything here.” Gyodon taunts Jombo from his chains.
“We will be doing more than you while we’re here, I can assure you that, Gyodon.” Jombo says leaning against the back doors. “We’re not coming here to mess Stickpage up. Some of us don’t want it anymore than you do.”
“Yet, here you are. Messing things up. We were fine before you guys showed up.” Gyodon said, eyebrows ruffled.
“Your economy is failing. Your government barely has Stickpage under control. Crime is high. All because of one guy. Yeah, sounds like everything was fine.” Jombo glances out the window, “Outside, that is not because they care about you. That is because there is no order here.”

Meanwhile, not far off from the Stickpage-StickSlaughter border, Sacred sat on a bench... closely watched by Stickpage immigration officers. He had just returned from exploring the ruins of StickSlaughter. The border has been closed to everybody except Stickpage and FluidAnims citizens until the merge is complete. Sacred, having lost his proof of citizenship during his trip, had to call an old friend to come and help him get through.

or (and this is the lazy option) you could even just throw in a divider to make scene transitions clearer, like so:


Gyodon sits in the back of the van, peering at the crowd through the windows “You see those people out there? They will never give in to you guys. You clowns will never amount to anything here.” Gyodon taunts Jombo from his chains.
“We will be doing more than you while we’re here, I can assure you that, Gyodon.” Jombo says leaning against the back doors. “We’re not coming here to mess Stickpage up. Some of us don’t want it anymore than you do.”
“Yet, here you are. Messing things up. We were fine before you guys showed up.” Gyodon said, eyebrows ruffled.
“Your economy is failing. Your government barely has Stickpage under control. Crime is high. All because of one guy. Yeah, sounds like everything was fine.” Jombo glances out the window, “Outside, that is not because they care about you. That is because there is no order here.”

---

Sacred sat on a bench, closely watched by Stickpage immigration officers. He had just returned from exploring the ruins of StickSlaughter. The border has been closed to everybody except Stickpage and FluidAnims citizens until the merge is complete. Sacred, having lost his proof of citizenship during his trip, had to call an old friend to come and help him get through.

Smile
08-25-2014, 05:58 AM
parts 1-3 (abridged version for FUCKERS who are too lazy to read it)

Slow down bro I don't like fighting disabled people.

Ashlander
08-25-2014, 06:09 AM
just read the new part - woo, the story continues. let me know if you want a proofreader or a collaborator, i got free time. some C&C: the dialogue and events are great and I would love to know where this is going. one thing is bugging me though: when you're switching scenes, it sometimes takes a bit of effort to understand where and when the new events are taking place. you need some transition. an example of this - when you changed scenes here:



it would have been clearer if you had done something like this:



or (and this is the lazy option) you could even just throw in a divider to make scene transitions clearer, like so:
I was thinking about that too. I actually rearranged the order of the scenes in this new part, and also in part 2 specifically to minimize that. I thought about just doing a "Near the border..." type divider, but felt it was a cheap way out.

Also, if you want to help that'd be great. I have it all up on a Google doc now so if anybody wants to contribute they can easily access it and can type all at once.

Scarecrow
08-25-2014, 07:15 AM
I was thinking about that too. I actually rearranged the order of the scenes in this new part, and also in part 2 specifically to minimize that. I thought about just doing a "Near the border..." type divider, but felt it was a cheap way out.

Also, if you want to help that'd be great. I have it all up on a Google doc now so if anybody wants to contribute they can easily access it and can type all at once.

there's definitely better ways to tie things together, so i guess you could think of it that way... but it's still better than nothing.

and sure, hit me up with the deets via PM. maybe send me your skype address or something as well so we can discuss it properly.

i'm not the creative type - but i'm a great proofreader, and i can't come up with ideas - but i can pin down every detail and obliterate plot holes if you've got the ideas.

Sacred
08-25-2014, 06:52 PM
Contact me too, mate. Although I may not be able to contribute as much as when we first started this up, I'd like to work with you on plot developments and jazz.

Part 4 has got me all excited to help again if it's just a little bit.

Ashlander
09-01-2014, 06:23 AM
Part 5

In his small residence just outside of downtown Stickpaeg, Jeremy waits in his kitchen with a handful of guests for the last of them to arrive. His property is modest and middle class; his neighbors are close, yards are small, and there’s hardly any room for parking.

There’s a knock at the door.
“Come on in,” Jeremy calls out.
Zed opens the door and steps inside, slightly damp due to the storm. He hangs his coat on the rack near the door, next to Ashlander’s leather jacket.
“I see Ash has made it,” he says, stepping into the kitchen to find Jeremy standing behind a granite island counter, Ashlander to his right, and CMPunk sitting around the corner. 2-D and General Douchington stood opposite Jeremy, their backs towards Zed.
“Am I the last arrival?” Zed asks, taking a spot at the corner of the island counter next to 2-D. “What did you call us here for?”
Jeremy takes a glance around before responding.
“Actually, we’re missing a couple people still. But who knows, they might not even show up. I’ll just start now and get straight to the point.”
Jeremy places his index finger in the center of the countertop. “We need to take a stand against what FluidAnims is trying to do. I don’t mind them coming into our country, but our government will remain our government. We need to show them that they can’t just march in here and start changing things.”

“Skip to it man, what are we doing?” General Douchington impatiently asks.
Jeremy rolls his eyes. “Well... first, we’re going to break Scarecrow and #32 out of prison.”
“Oh,” General Douchington says, with a nod of approval pressing his eyebrows, “Sweet.”
“And… how are we going to do that, exactly?” Ashlander asks skeptically.
“Well. I can have some basic tools smuggled to them, so they can at least get out of their cells by themselves,” Jeremy replies, scratching his forehead lightly, “Getting them out of the jail on the other hand… I was kind of hoping you could figure that out - given your history.”
“Alright... well, the entrances and exits will be heavily guarded obviously...” Ashlander replies, pausing to think for a moment. “Maybe through the sewers?”
General Douchington pipes up. “Man, listen to this guy. Through the sewers? Like we’re fucking ninja turtles or something?”
2-D cocks his head. “What’s wrong? You afraid of getting dirty? You should at least be used to the odor.”
“Shut up, faggot.”
“That’s enough,” Jeremy orders, “Do you have a better idea Douchington?”
“Can’t we just like… skydive in or some shit?” General Douchington shrugs.
Jeremy squeezes his temples lightly, “With what? We don’t have a pla-”
“No… he’s right,” Ashlander interrupts, “We can drop onto the roof. Then we can easily access the building through the stairwell access doors, or if we must the elevator shafts. Rooftop utility rooms tend not to be secured too well.”
“But where are we going to get the plane?” 2-D interjects.
“We don’t need a plane. We’ll use a helicopter. I know a guy that may be able to help. He was the chopper pilot in my MOD unit back in Power-Fusion… and if we’re lucky, he might be able to get his hands on some hardware.” Ashlander says.
“What’s a MOD unit?” General Douchington questioned.
“Mobile Operations Division,” Ashlander answered, turning his head towards him, “was a special sector within Power-Fusion’s special operations group. It was eventually adopted by many other nations. We had to be prepared to strike anyplace, from anywhere, at any time. We typically had 24 hours to deploy to our destination as a unit. Stickpage had it’s own at one point called the Defense Team. But you guys all know how that went.”

“So where is this guy?” Jeremy asks, mildly surprised at where the conversation has turned.
“He… “ Ashlander pauses, choosing his words carefully. “He fell off the grid after a failed operation. But, I know where he is.”
“Alright then. Follow that up ASAP,” Jeremy says, before turning back to the rest of the group.
“What about TheRisen? We gunna assassinate him or what?” CMPunk yells, jumping up against the island, garnering a apprehensive stares from Jeremy, Ashlander, and Zed.
“The fuck you talkin’ about, CMPunk?” General Douchington counters.
“Don’t you see? Stone, is TheRisen! First the reset, now the merge! This has been his plan all along!” CMPunk shouts, slamming a fist down on the counter enthusiastically.
“CMPunk…” Jeremy with hand still gripping the bridge of his nose, “Stone is not TheRisen.”
“It can’t be a coincide-!”
“No, CMPunk,” Jeremy interrupts sternly, already growing tired of CMPunks conspiratorial ramblings. “It is a coincidence. Now, back to logic please. We break Scarecrow and #32 out. Show them they can’t contain us. Then we send some sort of national message, making it known to the entire country that FA holds no power here.”
“What kind of message are you think-” Ashlander starts, before suddenly cutting himself off and quickly turning his head as he hears a familiar metallic clink. There’s a moment of silence before he turns back and raises his voice, “EVERYBODY GET DO-”

A loud bang rings through everybody's ears as the kitchen fills with light grey smoke. The group falls away from the countertop, all reacting violently. Ashlander holds his breath, taking sharp short inhalations through his mouth. Jeremy covers his face and backs up hard against his fridge. 2-D falls to a knee and coughs repeatedly as the tear gas enters his lungs.

A crash and the sound of shattered glass is heard. Gasmask-equipped men in black tactical gear, still hardly visible in the smoke, burst in through the kitchen windows. The first one in clocks CMPunk in the forehead with the stock of his MP5. With his eyes watering, Ashlander reaches for the toaster. The second man who enters notices Ashlander with the toaster over his head. He lifts his shotgun and sends a beanbag to the side of his ribs, dropping the toaster as he’s knocked back into the cabinets. General Douchington backs into one of the men, then collapses after getting hit in the back of the head with a stock.
“Knock them all out!” Ashlander hears someone command, as he struggles to pull himself up with one arm up on the counter. A combat boot suddenly connects with his face.

Jeremy wakes with a start, and quickly realises that he is tied down to one if his own dining room chairs. A slim man stands before him, with his mask removed. He glances around the room. The lights are off, but the storm outside seems to have died off, letting the moonlight shine through the windows enough to lightly illuminate the living room. His eyesight is slightly blurred, but he can make out some of his guests in the dark. Ashlander was standing, handcuffed to the radiator mounted on the hallway wall. CMPunk was tied to a chair as well, still unconscious and drool dribbling from his mouth. General Douchington and 2-D looked at him from their own chairs, against the opposite wall. He didn’t see Zed anywhere. Another armed man stands near them, and Jeremy can hear two more speaking from the kitchen.
“What the hell is going on?” Jeremy demands.

“WarCorrespondent, he’s up,” The man in front of him relays. A taller, bulkier, and generally more intimidating man steps out from the kitchen, “Thank you, Cavalier.”
He grabs the lamp from the corner of the living room and drags it over with him, placing it in front of Jeremy. The lamp is switched on and Jeremy looks away as its tilted down towards his face.
“Do you know why we’re here Jeremy?” he begins.
“You wanted to participate in beer pong,” Jeremy sarcastically replies, before taking a hard hit to the stomach, forcing him to buckle over in his chair.
“Hey, asshole!” Ashlander yells from the radiator.
“Cavalier, shut him up please. He’ll have his turn soon enough,” WarCorrespondent orders, pointing toward Ashlander.
Cavalier steps into the kitchen for a second, before heading towards Ashlander with a roll of black duct tape, “Oh hey, you must be his little bit-” Cavalier cuts him off with a strip of tape to the mouth, when something catches his eye.
“Hey WarCorrespondent, it looks like we have a war hero here.”
He removes a chain from Ashlander’s neck. Instead of dogtags, the chain is fed through the ribbon of a Power-Fusion Medal of Honor, which is usually kept beneath his shirt and out of sight.
“Interesting,” WarCorrespondent raises an eyebrow, briefly shifting his focus to Ashlander, “Now, what use would you have for somebody like that Jeremy?”
Jeremy glances toward Ashlander, his mouth taped, and trying to pull the radiator from the wall.
“He’s good at beer pong.” He receives another strong hit, this time more towards the kidney. “I see… ” WarCorrespondent leans back, rubbing his knuckles, “…and why did you ask him about his military history at the courthouse?”
Jeremy’s eyebrows furrowed. How did he know that?
A short pause ensued, “I heard veterans were good at beer pong.”
WarCorrespondent gives him another powerful hit to the stomach, buckling Jeremy over once again.
“I’m going to share something with you Jeremy,” WarCorrespondent leans in, “You’ve been under surveillance for quite some time now. We know every move you’ve made. You didn’t think you could just threaten Stone, the former president of FluidAnims, and new Stickpage vice president, and not have tabs kept on you, did you?” Jeremy is still trying to catch his breath. “If you cooperate we can keep this civil. But I’m losing my patience. So what’s the plan? There’s got to be other groups organizing out there. Who, and where, are they?”

Jeremy is finally able to clear his throat. “What do you mean, new vice president? TheSaw is our vice president.”
“TheSaw is resigning,” WarCorrespondent says bluntly. Jeremy widens his eyes with rage.
“I warned him about this… “ Jeremy whispers, lowering his head in anger, “Tell Stone he’s going to have a short term.”
Jeremy braces himself for another strike, but it doesn’t come. Instead, WarCorrespondent steps away, towards the kitchen doorway where he picks up two metal prongs from the floor with thick wire leads coming in from the kitchen. He taps the prongs together, causing sparks to light up the entire room with a loud crack for split seconds at a time. As soon as he returns to Jeremy, he shoves both prongs into his chest. Jeremy, being tied down, had no way to struggle free, and no means of defence. His muscles tense and he shakes violently in his chair, nearly breaking his teeth from clamping down so hard before letting out a sharp yell.

Five long seconds later the prongs were removed. Light smoke trailed from the two contact points.
“500 milliamps,” WarCorrespondent explains, leering. “Not enough to kill you… hopefully. Just enough to make you wish it did.”
General Douchington lunges forward in his chair, “What the fuck man! Are you crazy?!”
The armed man next to him punches Douchington in the jaw, “Touch me again faggot!” he shouts again, recoiling. This time he receives the stock end of an MP5 in the gut, knocking the wind out of him. Jeremy can only hear the commotion, still blinded by the lamp.

“Answer the questions Jeremy,” WarCorrespondent presses, ignoring the outburst from Douchington.
“Go fuck yourself FAg,” Jeremy returns, looking into the light. The prongs crack loudly and spark as they are pressed against his chest again. He grabs the ends of the chair involuntarily as his muscles contract again. Five seconds. Ten Seconds. Bubbles of saliva begin to squeeze out from in between his teeth.
Cavalier interjects, “Sir? Maybe we should just bring them into headquarters for questioning?”
WarCorrespondent removes the prongs, leaving a trail of smoke and the faint smell of burnt flesh in the air. “No, I think I know something else that’ll work. Bring him in.” WarCorrespondent gestures toward the kitchen. Jeremy hears some shuffling, followed by a thud. The lamp is turned away from his face, and towards a figure on his knees. His eyesight still blotchy from the light, it takes a couple of seconds for Jeremy to realize who it is. Zed sits in front of him, forced to his knees. His mouth is taped, he’s blindfolded, and his hands are bound behind his back.
“What’s this?” Jeremy mutters angrily, panting.

“Your friend Zed here, wasn’t going to join you,” WarCorrespondent informs, “He’s not against the merge. Like you, he would prefer if things stayed the same. But he isn’t against change. At this point, he’s just an innocent bystander, ” he removes the blindfold and tape, “Right Zed?”
“Yeah…” Zed lingers, trying not to make eye contact, “I just showed up tonight to see what you had to say. But… I don’t think it’s worth the fight…”
Jeremy looks at Zed confused, but reverts his attention back to the interrogator, “What’s your point, asshole?”
“My point, Jeremy…” WarCorrespondent unfolds Zed’s blindfold into a large thick cloth, “…is to see if you’ll let the citizens of Stickpage suffer for the sake of your mission.”
“What?” Zed and Jeremy say in unison.

WarCorrespondent yanks Zed’s head back by his hair, and drops the cloth over his face. The man that brought him out comes back with a couple large jugs of water, sets them down, and lifts one over Zed’s face. WarCorrespondent trades a glance with Jeremy, before nodding to the other guy, who begins pouring water over the cloth.

Water splashes everywhere, soaking the man’s pants and shoes. The flowing water and soaked cloth over Zed’s face effectively prevent him from drawing in air. Zed struggles as he tries to breathe without inhaling water, only to be pulled back harder by his hair. Jeremy sits in silence, glancing at 2-D and General Douchington, who keep silent as well.
“Answer the questions Jeremy. Or are the answers more important than Zed here?”
The first jug empties, and the second one is raised up. Cavalier grabs the empty jug and wanders off into the kitchen to refill it. Zed gargles loudly again as more water is poured back over his face.

Halfway through the second jug, a loud clank is heard from the kitchen. The pouring stops as all listen. All except Zed, who gasps for air while simultaneously falling into a coughing fit. WarCorrespondent takes the water jug and orders his subordinate to investigate.

The second he steps into the kitchen, a large metal trash can is slammed down over his head, and he is pushed out of the way as Sacred and Devour burst into the room screaming. Devour charges at WarCorrespondent with one of the kitchen chairs, slamming it into his face and knocking him away from Zed. The wooden chair splinters into pieces above Zed’s head, and the loss of WarCorrespondent’s grip causes him to fall to his back. Sacred grabs the officer’s shotgun and runs straight to Ashlander, ripping the tape from his face. “Sorry we’re late.”
“Trust me, it worked out better this way!” Ashlander replies, relieved. “Hurry, help me pull the radiator from the wall!” After setting the shotgun down, Sacred joins Ashlander in pulling at the corner of the radiator he’s chained to with every ounce of strength they have.

Devour manages to untie General Douchington before a guard grabs him from behind. General Douchington quickly gets up, and slams his metal chair over the guard’s head. Devour wastes no time, and moves to free the others.

Cavalier re-enters the room with a stumble, rubbing his head, not completely aware of all the commotion. WarCorrespondent manages to get back to his feet, just as the radiator breaks free. The officer in the kitchen throws the trash can off to the side and charges towards Devour, who has just finished freeing 2-D and CMPunk. Ashlander dives for the shotgun and sends a beanbag into his back, knocking him to the floor. After climbing back to his feet, Ashlander then points the shotgun at Cavalier, who raises his arms, “Whoa, whoa, dont shoot!”

WarCorrespondent grabs his MP5 from against the wall and takes aim toward Devour, who was now working on Jeremy, but freezes as he hears a shout from Ashlander’s side of the room. “Stop! Lower your weapon now!”
He turns to find Cavalier held up in front of Ashlander, who is aiming Cavalier’s sidearm at WarCorrespondent. Sacred stands beside him with the beanbag shotgun aimed at both the other officers.
WarCorrespondent scoffs. “Those are non-lethal rounds. That gun is loaded only with rubber bullets,” he states, moving to aim at Sacred and Ashlander, “We are wearing armor. Think about your next move carefully.”
“Alright,” Ashlander replies, shifting the gun to Cavalier’s head, “even rubber bullets will pierce his skull and scramble his brain fired from point blank.”

WarCorrespondent pauses for a second - a second too long. The silence is abruptly broken by a loud crack from the electrical prongs as Jeremy - freed during WarCorrespondent’s stand off with Ashlander - jams them into his neck, sending him to the ground. Jeremy tosses the prongs aside, then kicks him in the ribs for good measure.

“Come on, let’s go!” Devour shouts, heading out the front door. Jeremy peels the wet cloth off Zed’s face, slings his arm over his shoulders, and pulls him to his feet. Ashlander and Sacred stay at the doorway with Cavalier, holding the rest of the SWAT team at bay as everybody else follows Devour.
“Don’t move!” Ashlander yells pressing the gun hard against Cavalier’s skull. A loud diesel engine fires up outside. Ashlander peeks out, to find their APC pulling up with Devour leaning out the back door. Ashlander roughly pulls Cavalier towards the APC. Sacred follows, and quickly helps Ashlander to shove Cavalier into the vehicle, before the two of them climb in after him.

WarCorrespondent and the other two officers rush out of Jeremy’s house, firing on the APC just as the back door closes. The rubber bullets ricochet uselessly off the steel sides as the diesel engine roars, billowing black smoke from the exhaust as it accelerates down the street.

Miracle
09-01-2014, 07:39 AM
Wow. I'm hooked, Ashlander. You have much better writing skills than anyone in my class. Keep up the good work, man

Ashlander
09-01-2014, 02:25 PM
Wow. I'm hooked, Ashlander. You have much better writing skills than anyone in my class. Keep up the good work, man
That's mostly probably just Scarecrow and Sacred's editing.

_Ai_
09-04-2014, 12:52 AM
I agree on Scarecrow on the divider. It's weird how the plot suddenly jumps into another plot. Or you could put more spaces in between. Just 2 spaces isn't enough.

Ashlander
09-20-2014, 03:24 PM
Stone stands facing the window, looking out over the city of Stickpaeg from his office in the capital building. Jombo and Oxob sit at a conference table to the side of the room. TheSaw and Jeff stand nearby.

“I hear they got away,” Stone says, turning to make eye contact with WarCorrespondent.
“They did. We had them restrained, but more of them showed up and attacked us during the interrogation,” he replies from the doorway, hands rested behind his back.
“And they took one of your men?” Stone takes a seat at the end of the conference table.
“Yes. They took Cavalier hostage and used him to escape. We were in too much disorientation to stop them.”
Stone thinks to himself for a moment, “They sound more capable than we thought,” closing his eyes with frustration.
“How much damage can five or six guys cause?” TheSaw asks.
“I believe there are other groups organising,” WarCorrespondent responds. “And they’ve recruited some former military personnel. A guy named Ashlander was there. We’re looking into who some of the others are-”
“He wasn’t Stickpage military,” TheSaw interrupts.
“You said Ashlander?” Jeff asks, with a surprised expression.
“Do you know him?” Stone asks.
“He lived in Shiftlimits four or five years ago,” the former president says, “Wasn’t expecting to find him here. Who else was there?”
WarCorrespondent tosses a manilla folder onto the table, containing the names of everybody from the meeting as well as some notes on each.
“Most of these guys are nobodies,” TheSaw informs, pulling a few of the papers toward him, until one catches his eye. “Zed was there?”
“He’s one of your old leaders right?” Jombo asks, taking a look over his file.
“Yes, he was,” TheSaw replies, “I forced him and Index to resign, after we were forced to reset our economy. We didn’t have room for such incompetence after that. He’s just drowned himself in alcohol ever since, how much of a threat could he possibly be?”
“I don’t think he is, he’s just being strung along now,” WarCorrespondent says, “But he’ll still have information, so we should detain him if we get the chance.”
“What else did you learn before the others showed up?” Stone interrupts, wanting to get the important information. There’s time to go over each person’s file later.
“Not much. Before we broke into the house we overheard plans to get Scarecrow and #32 out of prison. Then Jeremy wants to send us a message.” WarCorrespondent says, “After we restrained them, they refused to cooperate. Jeremy seems to have taken the role of leader, but when we interrogated him all he did was dodge the questions.”
“He can be stubborn,” TheSaw chips in.
“We’ll have to increase security at the prison then.” Jombo suggests.
“I can have a couple teams wait on site. They’ll be ready if Jeremy makes a move there.” Oxob adds.
“Good plan.” Jeff says, closing the folder.
“WarCorrespondent, ” Stone begins to lecture. “I put you in charge of this situation because you’re the most experienced man we got. This is a small rag-tag team of insurgents who have already made public headlines with their actions. Although they’re small in numbers, they pose an immediate threat to what we’re trying to do here. I need to be able to trust that you will fix this mess. Do not let this problem grow. Else I’m going to have to hand control over to Oxob.”
“Trust me, Vice President,” WarCorrespondent insists. “Once they enter the prison, they won’t be leaving.”


Two days later…

The stolen FluidAnim APC sits in an alley underneath an overpass. Cavalier is restrained - ironically with FA’s own handcuffs - and under the careful watch of Devour. The group had found a few weapons mounted inside the APC, though (much to General Douchington’s dismay) they too, were of the non-lethal variety.

General Douchington walks out of of the corner gas station, identity hidden by a hoodie, with an armful of hotdogs for everybody. He is followed by a blonde woman wearing large sunglasses, carrying a case of bottled water, and CMPunk reading an issue of National Enquirer. The cover story was a cloud shaped like Satan, hinting at the forthcoming apocalypse.

Zed patiently waits in the APC for his requested bottle of gin from the liquor store across the street, as he’d be recognized by nearly anybody. The blonde woman gets into the front of the APC, while Jeremy hurries the other two into the back.
“Is that disguise really necessary?” Zed asks the woman in front.
“Hey, I can’t be too careful these days,” 2-D responds, removing the blonde wig and revealing his natural hair. Kind of digging the sunglasses, he opted to leave them on.
“Has he said anything?” Jeremy asks taking a seat next to Devour, across from their prisoner.
“Not much. He just mentioned he was a rookie. That’s about it,” he responds.
“Hey… “ Jeremy directs his attention to Cavalier, “We aren't going to hurt you. I’m not holding what happened at my house against you personally.”
Cavalier keeps his head down, choosing to not respond.
“How long have you been in SWAT?”
“Two weeks before the merge was announced…” Cavalier answers reluctantly.
“So about a month. Do you have a family?” Jeremy asks, receiving a nod, “Cooperate with us, and I promise you will see your family again.”
“What do you want from me?” Cavalier asks.
“I just want to know some things about that WarCorrespondent guy.”
“I don’t know him personally,” Cavalier sidesteps.
“Well do you know anything?” Jeremy presses.
“A little. I know he was undercover with some pirate gang or mob or something in FluidAnims a few years ago. He ended up getting disavowed for a year after he failed and got some ship sunk. He’s only been back for about six months.”
“What? A few years ago?” Devour says, his interest suddenly peaking, “That ship. Was it a cruiseship?”
“That sounds about right. Why?” Cavalier asks, curious as to why it’d matter to anybody here.
Devour sat in silence, slowly swelling with anger.
“Devour,” Sacred pipes up, “Can we talk outside for a sec?”
Devour looks over at Jeremy for permission.
“It’s fine I got him,” Jeremy assures, “But don’t take too long.”

“What the fuck,” Devour huffs, exhaling through his nose, after both exit the APC.
“Dude, you heard him. It was a pirate attack. They tried to stop it. Don’t let that pull you into all this,” Sacred whispers. “This isn’t going to fix anything.”
“No, it was them. Their government was corrupt, man,” Devour justifies, “First they take Snowy, now they’re taking my country.”
“OUR country,” Sacred stresses, “Devour, you know that I understand how important family is to you. And you also know that I’d die for Stickpage. But this?” Sacred points to the APC. “I’m not sure about this. Do these guys even know what they’re doing? We’ve got some has-been public figures, a couple guys who should be institutionalized, and a cross-dresser.”
“Look Sacred,” Devour retorts. “You’ve been gone for two years. Doing what, I don’t know. But right now, I don’t care. All I care about, is making sure we don’t get fucked by this new government. You haven’t been here to see how far we’ve come, or what we’ve gone through recently. You just left us behind.”
Sacred’s brow furrows.
“We could really use your help,” Devour adds.
A moment of silence drew between both of them before it was interrupted by 2-D.
“Wrap it up homos, we’re moving out.” Both climb in reluctantly as the door closes behind them.
“What are we doing now? We can’t just hide out under bridges forever.” Zed asks.
“I got it covered.” 2-D says, firing up the ignition. A couple homeless people take a look into the alley, drawn in by the noise. They are quickly blinded by the headlights as the engine fires up.

An old condemned warehouse sits in the center of the industrial district of Stickpaeg. It is surrounded by other warehouses, factories, and various other blue-collar businesses. Most of the local workers earn a low-wage, and haven’t fully recovered yet from the reset. Many don’t appreciate the sudden influx of FluidAnim immigrants.

Many windows on the warehouse have been broken throughout the years. The metal siding has rusted, and appears to have once been the canvas for graffiti to the local riff-raff, though the paint is now faded and peeling away. The front of the warehouse features two large steel sliding bay doors as well as an office door to the left side. Rats and other rodents have made a home here, distributing trash around the exterior of the building.

Devour and General Douchington pry the bay doors apart until they can get a good enough hold to push them apart. Sacred jumps in to assist as the doors screech along the rusty rails.

“This is the place you had in mind, 2-D?” Jeremy asks, kneeling behind the driver’s seat of the APC as they wait for the doors to open. “Looks like a good place to get tetanus.”
“Hey, you wanted quiet and off the grid,” 2-D replies from behind the wheel. “You got quiet and off the grid.”
“How did you find this place anyway?” Jeremy looks around.
“CMPunk mentioned it to me. Said he found it while looking for an emergency shelter during The Reset or some shit,” 2-D replies.

The bay doors eventually open, raining dust and small pieces of metal from the railing above. They wave 2-D through, then step out of the way of the vehicle. The APC pulls through the bay doors slowly, before letting out a hiss as the air brakes are engaged. The rear hatch drops to the concrete floor, bouncing with a slight vibration, as Jeremy exits.
“Man, this place is a dump,” General Douchington says, pulling the bay doors shut, “This shit better have electricity.”
Right on cue, the fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling flicker for a few seconds before lighting up.
Zed stood at the light switch near the entrance, “Well, at least that’s something…”
Only about half the lights worked, the rest just remained flickering, if they lit up at all. They lit the warehouse enough to get a good look around. Most of the space was separated into three large bays, divided by badly sheetrocked walls. The main bay, which they had just pulled into, featured an office in the corner to the left, next to a set of small restrooms and a meeting room. A single door in the back led into a similarly sized bay along the back wall of the building. To the right was a larger bay, extending all the way to the back. The walls were lined with dusty shelves and cheap wooden counters. Various air hoses and wiring hung from the ceiling. The warehouse appeared to have been some sort of industrial repair shop or storage at one point, possibly for semi-trucks or other some heavy equipment.

“This place…” Jeremy says, looking around the main bay, “needs some work.”
“So this is where we going to hole up? Gotta say I wasn’t expecting a shithole like this as our hideout man,” General Douchington observes looking into the large side bay.
“Yeah well, after they tried to raid us, none of our homes are safe. This is the best we got at the moment. Make the best of it,” Jeremy snaps back, “Nobody made you come.”
“Maybe not him. I don’t have much of a choice anymore,” Zed grumbles, slightly boozed from the already half empty bottle of gin.
“Zed, I think you’ve had enough,” Jeremy says grabbing the bottle from him, having apologized many times already for what happened back at the house. Zed glares at him, as he tips back against the side of the APC.
“Hey guys, what’s up with this?” CMPunk asks, holding up a pair of lacy white ladies underwear.
“The fuck? That’s disgusting, man, put that shit down,” Douchington says stepping back from him, “They probably got scabies, or the herp, or some shit on ‘em.”
“Iunno. They look pretty clean, man,” 2-D says, taking a closer look, “Where did you find these, CMPunk?”
“By the office,” he responds, pointing towards the door.

After taking a closer look, there seemed to multiple pairs of women’s underwear, of various types, scattered around the floor near the office. They laid on top of the dust, so it appeared they’d been dropped there recently. Jeremy peers through the office window. The glass was frosted, making very little visible even if the office light wasn’t off. Zed cracks the door and peeks inside.
“Figures CMPunk would bring us here. Creepy fuck,” Douchington says in the background, unloading Cavalier from the APC.
Unable to see anything, Zed steps inside and finds the lightswitch. The office lights up. The floor is littered with female undergarments and a bra hangs from the inside doorknob. A large statured, bearded man in ragged clothes lays passed out in the office chair, a red thong draped over his face, and his hand resting on a two third empty bottle of whiskey sitting at the base of the chair.
“Hello.” Zed says, stepping forth and swiftly grabbing the bottle of booze before the others enter.
“Who the fuck is this?” Douchington asks, stepping into the office with Jeremy, who squints his eyes.
“Nish?” he says genuinely surprised. He had seen on the news that he was being released from prison, but why would he be squatting in an old warehouse? The underwear was probably the least odd thing about the situation.
“Nish,” Jeremy repeats, “NISH!”

The panties slip off Nish’s face as he jerks awake, covering his eyes from the bright office light.
“What the fuck? Who are you guys? Jeremy? Zed? 2-D?” Nish asks before seeing Cavalier shoved into the office in cuffs.
“I see what’s going on,” he says, “Bunch of guys, handcuffs, remote location. I’ll get my whip.”
“NO! Sit down,” Jeremy orders.
“Wait, who is that guy anyway?” Nish points at Cavalier.
“Fuck…” Jeremy says, hoping to hide the truth, “He’s a uh-”
“Wait.” Nish pauses as he remembers the recent news headlines, and the realization hits him, “He’s that missing FluidAnims guy, isn’t he. Now that I think I think of it, you guys have been plastered all over the news lately.”
Jeremy keeps silent.
“Holy shit.” Nish laughs, “You guys are gonna get fucked up.”
“Don’t worry about us,” Jeremy says, “What about you?”
“I don’t give a shit. Kill as many of those FAgs as you want,” Nish shrugs in the chair.
“Hey man, what the hell,” Cavalier yells from the back.
“Don’t worry, Cavalier. We’re going to keep as non-violent as possible.” Jeremy insists.
“Well shit, that’s no fun. Whats a good bloody rebellion without the blood?” Nish asks.
“What the hell are you doing here anyway, Nish?” Jeremy asks, changing the subject.
“Yeah, Nish. Nice place ya got here,” 2-D comments, glancing around the trashed office, then the underpants scattered around the floor, “Nice to see your time in the penn stopped your molestation habit.”
“Hey,” Nish shrugs again, sitting back in his chair. He then drops his heavy boot clad feet on the desk, and leans back with his hands folded behind his head, “I haven’t molested anyone yet. I’m just… borrowing their unmentionables. It’s all part of my rehabilitation plan. You can’t just stop cold turkey.”
“You’re a sick man. I like it,” Douchington says with a chuckle, with an agreement from 2-D.
“What are you doing squatting in a place like this?” Jeremy asks, waving his hand across the room.
“It’s not easy getting work as an ex-felon. Apparently employers have an issue with sexual assault,” Nish replies, “They like to pretend their female employees are actually people.”
“Yeah. Ex-felon,” Cavalier says sarcastically from the office corner.
“Shut up, you fucking cunt,” Nish snarls back.
“We need to get rid of him, Jeremy. This is obviously a set up. He’s been planted here by FluidAnims and TheRisen!” CMPunk yells enthusiastically, pointing at Nish.
“The only thing I ever spied on, was your dad fucking your mom in the shower. He should’ve just spilt you on the floor, but instead committed one of biggest atrocities in history,” Nish taunts, much to the shock of CMPunk.
“For fuck’s sake CMPunk...” General Douchington groans, rolling his eyes.
“Shut up dumbass!” CMPunk yells, suddenly punching Douchington in the shoulder, “He’s obviously a spy. What are the chances of us finding him here? They put him here to get information. We need to get rid of him, then go straight after TheRisen.”
CMPunk feebly attempts to rally enthusiasm. “Who’s with me?!” he shouts, before receiving a hook to the jaw from Douchington.
“Don’t touch me again!” he yells, rubbing his knuckles. CMPunk lunges back, but is grabbed and held back by Devour.
“Come on, ya little shitstain,” Douchington taunts, being pulled away by Zed, and Sacred stepping in between.
“Calm the fuck down!” Jeremy shouts at the two, closing his eyes in frustration.
“CMPunk, get out of here,” he orders again, holding his arm toward the door.
“But, we nee-” CMPunk says, cut off by Jeremy again.
“NOW!” he yells, slamming his fist down into the desk.
CMPunk quietly leaves the room as Jeremy rubs his temples, wondering why he ever let in on this.

Amused, Nish grins at the scene from his seat at the desk. Jeremy turns back to him, regaining his composure.
“We’re staying here, Nish. I trust you’ll keep your mouth shut, so you’re free to stay with us,” Jeremy says. “Jeus knows we need any help we can get.”
“Do you have a plan?” he replies, “I saw Scarecrow and #32 in prison before they cut me loose.”
“Well, we were going to get them out. Then we wanted to get a message out to all of Stickpage. But those plans have recently been compromised.” Jeremy says glancing at Cavalier. “But I think I know a way to get both done at once.”


---


Somewhere in 4chan, a man named Jaso hovers a blackhawk helicopter over a forest clearing. AK-47 rounds ricochet off the side of the helicopter; a lucky couple penetrate the glass into the cockpit. “Psyche!” Ashlander shouts in dismay, sprinting through the tall grass in the clearing below, as Psyche’s head jerks back with a red spray. More 4chan troops emerge from the treeline, shouting and turning their guns on the blackhawk. Jaso tries maintaining control of the chopper as the various cockpit lights flash red and yellow while the warning alarms sound off. The cabin suddenly fills with flames, and catches on his uniform. Moving quickly, he momentarily abandons the controls to remove his jacket, then grabs the stick, to correct the helicopter’s hard bank toward the trees. Over the beeping control panel and whirring of the rotor blades, Jaso can just make out the sound of an M4 as Ashlander returns fire on the 4chanians, covering Psyche. Just as he finds a glimmer of hope in regaining control of the helicopter, Jaso hears his least favorite words over the radio, amidst a wash of static. “Jaso! RPG!” Ashlander yells coarsely, dragging Psyche’s body toward the edge of the forest. Jaso pulls the controls hard to the right moments before a deafening boom is heard behind him.

Jaso gasps, waking from his sleep with a jolt. He sits up and runs a hand through his sweat soaked hair. He was still suffering the same nightmares from a helicopter crash thirteen years earlier. He thought he was getting better; it had been a number of months since his last episode. After sitting to collect himself for a moment, the deep rumble of an engine outside interrupts the silence.

Jaso pulls a robe around himself as he steps out of bed and walks to the bedroom window, peering out. Being on the coast of what was once Power-Fusion, the view inland is largely made up of barren wasteland. Some Power-Fusion ruins were scarcely visible in the distance, as the sunrise shone through the old buildings. A motorcycle kicks up clouds of dust, as it barrels down a dirt road, before eventually pulling up to the front of the house. Nobody else lived for hundreds of miles, and he wasn’t expecting any company. Jaso steps out his front door, shotgun hidden beneath his robe. The man sits on a black Harley Sportster Forty-Eight, wearing a leather jacket and aviators. He turns off the ignition and climbs off the bike before removing his sunglasses. “Ash?” Jaso asks, coming down the porch steps.

“It’s been a long time, man.” Ashlander says, stretching his arms out from the long ride. Jaso relaxes and removes the shotgun from his robe, flipping the safety back on.
“Geez man, who the fuck did you think I was?” Ashlander asks, surprised at the precaution.
“Nobody comes all the way out here and pokes around former Power-Fusion looking for a nice chat and a cup of coffee,” Jaso responds, shaking Ashlander’s hand and pulling him in for a shoulder bump, “What brings you out here after so long?”
Ashlander pats Jaso on the back, “I can’t just stop by an old friend and say hi?”
Jaso invites Ashlander into the house, while he gets dressed. The place is kept simple, and not much different from last time he was here, almost 10 years ago. No TV. No Stereo. Hardly any electronics at all. Just some old furniture and a stained rug. A dusty picture of the callsign ‘Freedom’ MOD units sat on a small table against the wall. Unit 2, Ashlander, Psyche, KkazakK, and Jaso, stood in front of their blackhawk. A crude cartoonish painting of a star, brandishing two machine guns and a strand of bullets across its chest was on the tail section of the helicopter.

“I never did like that logo,” Ashlander admits, looking at the old Freedom unit’s emblem. “Yeah well, unfortunately it was chosen long before we were ever in MOD,” Jaso says stepping back into the living room after changing into his normal clothes.
“So how've you been. Still hiding out in the middle of nowhere I see,” Ashlander says, making his way into the kitchen to investigate the fridge situation, “Still having nightmares?”
“No… They stopped a while ago,” Jaso lies, “I don’t suppose they ever caught Puppet-Master?” Ashlander smells a carton of milk, which was clearly sour, before placing it back in the fridge.
“Dunno. I gave up looking. Don’t care anymore,” he says, settling on a shady looking ham sandwich.
“What? Don’t care? What about Psyche?” Jaso asks angrily.
Ashlander pauses a moment, before taking a bite.
“That’s in the past. Nothing we do can fix that shitstorm of an operation,” he says with his mouth full.
“Why are you here, Ash?”
“Alright.” Ashlander sighs, “I’m here on behalf of some friends in Stickpage.”
“Stickpage?” Jaso asks surprised, “I thought you and KkazakK went to FlashIndustries.”
“Oh, I did. I moved around alot. FlashIndustries, Shiftlimits, eventually made my way to Stickpage. ZakK became successful in FlashIndustries and stayed there. Not sure where he is now.”
“And these friends in Stickpage,” Jaso says, “What do they want?”
“They need all the men they can get,” Ashlander answers, “And any equipment they can get.”
“What’s in it for you?”
“I’m just helping friends.” Ashlander shrugs, leaning against the fridge.
“And me? I’m not a fighter.”
“No, but you’re a pilot. And I foresee the need of a pilot,” Ashlander says, while simultaneously inhaling the rest of the sandwich.
“I’m not a pilot anymore. That shit ended thirteen years ago.” Jaso says with slight concern of his friend choking.
“Dude, make an exception. You know you can do it. I know you do it.”
“What’s the situation?” Jaso asks.
“You know, a textbook rebellion. Only this time we’re the bad guys,” Ashlander uses air quotes to emphasize ‘bad guys’.
“Sounds interesting,” Jaso pauses. The two stand in the kitchen in silence for a minute or two until Jaso responds, “So after all these years, you expect to just waltz back over here, bat your pretty eyelashes, flash your tits, and I’ll just jump back into action?”
“Well…” Ashlander shrugs, “I can flash my tits if you want. I was hoping just the eyelashes would do it.”
Jaso leans against the kitchen counter and thinks to himself for a minute, before glancing back at Ashlander, “I suppose. I dont have alot going on here anyway.”
“Sweet,” Ashlander says with an approving nod, “Now we just need to get our hands on a helicopter.”
“Follow me, I’ve got something to show you,” Jaso says, signalling Ashlander to follow as he exits the kitchen from a back door.

A large sheet metal shed stands about fifty yards behind the house. Jaso slides the doors open, revealing a large object hidden by a blue tarp. Jaso glances back at Ashlander, who stands outside amused. The tarp is pulled off to the side, unveiling a flatbed trailer. Ashlander’s jaw dropped. His attention was not on the trailer, but on it’s cargo. A complete, undamaged, albeit very dusty, blackhawk helicopter sat atop the flatbed, rotors folded back.

“What the fuck, Jaso!” he says excited, “Where did you get this?”
“I found it behind the old armory in the General Section of PF a few years ago,” Jaso says, “I’ve done a bit of scavenging over the last decade or so.”
“Does she start?”
“It did when I found it. Barely. It’ll probably need some TLC to get it going now, but she should fly,” Jaso says optimistically, “What should we name it?”
“Well, given the current situation, I think Freedom is fitting.”

Damian
09-20-2014, 08:27 PM
“Trust me, Vice President,” WarCorrespondent insists. “Once they enter the prison, whey won’t be leaving.”

helicopter crash thirteen earlier
Better hurry and fix it now 'fore they notice.

Ashlander
03-24-2015, 12:26 AM
Part 7

WarCorrespondent stands in the break room of a high security prison just outside Stickpeag City. The room has been turned over to the former FluidAnims SWAT team for the time being, in preparation for the possible prison attack by Jeremy. One wall of the room has a couple monitors and some communication equipment hung on it. The tables are covered in blueprints of various levels of the prison, the roof-top taking priority and most of the table space.

Jessepinwheel stops outside the makeshift command center, with details from the entrance team below. Standing at attention, uniform kept to exact standards, the stern female officer clears her throat to get the commanders attention, “Sir.” WarCorrespondent waves her into the elevator. “How’s progress going down there?” Jessepinwheel puts her finger to stairwell C on the blueprint of the first floor, “This staircase doesn’t go to the roof, so we redistributed those men to stairs A and B as well as the main entrance” she responds through pursed lips, “Other than that, everything is as you ordered.”

“Good. My men will cover the elevators. If Jeremy and his crew show up for those two thugs, we’ll be ready for them.” WarCorrespondent nods toward one of the monitors, displaying the east wing’s lounging area, where Scarecrow and #32 spend most of their time. Sure enough, the two are sat in their stiff plastic blue chairs in front of the small ceiling mounted television, watching the weather.

Their lounging area was in the center of the east wing, surrounded by three floors of cells. Scarecrow recalls there being six floors to the prison from his NTF days, though he never set foot inside the building. Perhaps this was just one of two cell ‘clusters’ in the east wing. In that case, were they in the bottom, or top cluster? It doesn’t matter, he thought. An escape was impossible before, but now the security seems to have ramped up everywhere he goes. The lounge area, the dining hall, the courtyard. Even the touring school children he can see through a tempered glass pane on the west wall, have been accompanied by armed escorts the last couple days.

“Why do we keep watching the news, man?” #32 asks, picking away at a seemingly stale dinner roll left over from his lunch tray.
“Haven’t you noticed the security around this place? It’s twice as strong as when we first got here.” Scarecrow responds, hardly impressed #32 hadn’t noticed, “Jeremy must have done something big out there, and I want to find out what it is.”
“So, how would that relate to the prison security?” #32 replies, still picking at the roll, half his attention on why this place gives them such shitty food.
“I don’t know… hence the news.” Scarecrow retorts, “And Jeus, just eat that damn thing already.”

The weather segment ends, and the station cuts back to it’s usual midday anchors. A pretty blonde woman, and a middle aged grey haired man are sat behind a desk. “And that concludes our weather forecast.” Scarecrow mocks with an eyeroll, in perfect time with the elderly man. He’s clearly watched the “What’s New” station far too much over the last few weeks. ‘What’s New’ is Stickpages proprietary government funded news station. Running twenty-four hours, it brings news and events to every household in Stickpage. On it’s launch, it was accompanied by a piece of legislation, requiring all major TV providers to implement an ‘auto-switch’ in their network protocols. This enabled What’s New to broadcast over all major networks in times of emergency with a simple flick of a switch. This was hardly used however, due to the mass audiences it would inconvenience. Jeus forbid it interrupt Rabbit Doubt, SP Mafia, or some other reality TV show.

“And now we’re going to take you to one of our correspondents, live in Newgrounds covering a reported surge in crime,” the blonde anchor introduces, before being replaced with a slightly grainy picture of their reporter.
“Thanks guys. It would seem that the black market activity here in Newgrounds has spiked over the last month or two. I’ve spoken to numerous officials, and they were not able to tell me the cause of the increased activity. They seemed to be under the impression that the operation is being spearheaded by illegal immigrants. So naturally, they were hesitant to speak to an outsider about the issue. That’s all I’ve got for now, I’ll keep you posted with any updates. Back to you guys,” the reporter attempts to segway, followed by a long pause. “...I’m sorry, they must be having technical difficu-” The reporter is cut off when the signal breaks, and is replaced with What’s New’s typical “We’ll be right back…” placeholder screen, usually used when they experience technical difficulties.

Shortly after the What’s New station’s signal was lost, the faint sound of police sirens could be heard outside its main headquarters. Soon, multiple police cruisers and trucks skid to a stop in front of the building. The first few officers exit the vehicles to block and redirect traffic away from the station, followed by a couple guys placing down traffic cones. One of the trucks acts as cover for an equipment van that pulls onto the scene shortly after. Oxob steps up into the back of the van to find the usual radios and megaphones, and other various communication devices commonly used in hostage or standoff situations. He also found some small mobile TV screens, which all displayed the “We’ll be back soon…” placeholder screen from the TV station. These proved to be unnecessary however, as the TV station itself had a large 40-foot LCD screen, dubbed the SkyTV, mounted outside the twelfth floor, near the top of the building.

“Got everything you need back there?” Smile, a young Stickpage native and rookie officer, asks from the front of the van.
“Yeah, it looks like it,” Oxob replies, picking up some radios, “Is there a mobile command post on its way?”
“I didn’t see any being prepped. I think they’re all in use at the prison right now.”
“Oh right… Well that’s just great,” Oxob groans, tossing Smile a radio, “Take this, you’re on the entrance for now.”

By the time Oxob exits the van, a number of senior officers have gathered around the back waiting for instruction. “What do you guys know?” he asks the closest officer.
“Not much. Panic button was pushed. No response from the building afterwards, and now they’re off-air,” he replies.
“Alright, so nothing I don’t already know,” Oxob sighs.
“There are at least two figures vaguely visible just inside the main entrance doors,” another officer contributes.
Oxob glanced for himself, “I’m going to try to open communication with whoever’s inside,” he says before assigning the other officers their orders. He urges them not to make a move unless he specifically says to, stressing the unknown number of civilians in the building and a possible hostage situation.
“Have you seen any of them yet?” Oxob asks, making his way towards another truck to get equipped.
“We’ve only seen two of them so far, the two males near the entrance. Look like twins or something.”

Devour and Sacred cringe slightly from inside the building lobby as police surround the front of the building. The two took positions near the front door armed with MP5s, in case the authorities tried to breach the building. ‘We’re fucked,’ Sacred thinks to himself, while instinctively switching off the safety of his MP5. Oxob eventually emerges from behind one of the police SUVs, equipped with a kevlar vest, and carrying a megaphone in his right hand. He stops about forty feet from the doors and lifts the megaphone to his mouth, “This is Oxob, with the Stickpaeg City Task Force. Please respond or we will be forced to enter the building.”

“STAY BACK!” Devour yells, brandishing the MP5 through the glass entrance doors before slamming them closed again.
“Shit…” Sacred utters, “You better call Jeremy.”
“Hey Jer’, they’re trying to speak to us.” Devour says slightly panicked into a cheap walkie-talkie.
“Alright,” Jeremy buzzes over the radio, “I guess it’s time to answer them. Give me a minute.”

“Are you sure about this, man?” Sacred asks Devour, feeling uneasy about rubber bullets and bean bags as their only means of defense, “These guys are wearing tactical gear and armor again. These things aren't even going to phase them.”
“Yeah, well if everything goes according to plan, we’ll be out of here before they get in.” Devour reassures, “Have some faith, man.”
“Alright…” Sacred sighs, remaining unsure, “I just hope the shit doesn’t hit the fan down here.”

The two stand guard inside the front entrance of the building, ignoring Oxob’s repeated pleas for a response. After a few more failed communication attempt, he begins to lose patience and signals the officers to start moving toward the entrance. Only a couple steps are taken when the SkyTV atop the building flickers, then returns to the anchor’s desk. Both anchors sit in their chairs, mouths taped, and hands zip-tied behind their chairs. Jeremy stands between them, hands on the back of each chair. “Shit…” Oxob utters under his breath, realizing he lacks the resources to deal with the emerging situation, as most of it is tied up at the prison.

“Are we on now?” Jeremy asks calmly on screen.
“Y-Yeah. You’re good to go,” the cameraman stutters from behind the camera, “Good. Get the emergency alert online.”
The camera bobs as the cameraman hurries to the control panel and flips the switch. The live broadcast is shot out to almost every TV in Stickpage, as their signal overrides all the other networks.

Shortly after, the camera recenters on Jeremy, “Hello Stickpage, I’m sure by this point most of you know who I am. I don’t know what FluidAnims, or Stickpage, or whoever they are now, has told you about us, but we do know something I’m sure they haven't told you yet,” Jeremy pauses for effect, “TheSaw is resigning. And he is being replaced by Stone. I don’t know if this is his own doing, or if he’s acting under duress. President CrazyJay has not stepped in to stop it, so he must’ve had some hand in the decision. FluidAnims leading Stickpage will only lead to the perversion of our heritage and culture, and if our own government isn’t going to intervene, that leaves us. I understand some of you may be hesitant to stand against your own country, but there comes a time when even the most loyal need to take a step back and evaluate what’s in Stickpage’s best interest in the long run. This is one of those times. We need to put our foot down now, or Stickpage, as you have always known it, may not be around to defend much longer. This is not a protest. This is not a rebellion. This is your duty, as Stickpagians, to ensure the survival of your way of life.” Jeremy stands back and signals the cameraman to cut the transmission.

“Shit. Shit. Shit. SHIT!” Oxob shouts, throwing the megaphone against one of the squad cars. After regaining his composure he returns to the equipment van, pointing at one of the officers, “You. Get more guys here, now. I want a full tactical team ready to go in less than an hour. Get a hostage negotiator. Pull people from the prison if you have to.”
“WarCorrespondent isn’t going to like that,” the officer replies.
“WarCorrespondent can fuck himself. They don’t need to be there anymore anyway,” he yells, plucking a phone from the wall of the van.
“Patch me into WarCorrespondent… I don’t care, just do it,” Oxob instructs, before a moment of silence as the call is patched through.
“Oxob? What do you want? I have my hands full here.”
“Oh. Well, are they full of shit from sitting on your thumbs over there? Jeremy isn’t going to prison. He’s at a TV station and he just spilled the beans about Stone all over the place.”
“Aw shit…”
“How the fuck does he know about that?”
“Oh, that. Uh… That may have slipped out during our… interview.”
“Well, who the fuck was asking the questions? Him or you?”

Inside the station, Jeremy breathes a sigh of relief. First time on television and he forces himself on the entire country and basically declares war.
“How was that?” he asks the cameraman as soon as he gets the Off-Air signal.
“Uh, good,” he replies, not daring to tell him he came off a bit shaky, “You guys aren't going to hurt us are you? We’re all Stickpagian, none of us are affiliated with FluidAnims at all.”
“What’s your name?” Jeremy asks.
“Raptor,” the cameraman replies, a quizzical look on his face.
“No, Raptor. We’re not going to hurt anyone. Not even our FluidAnims friend here,” Jeremy says reassuringly, with a nod toward Cavalier, “But Stone and his minions don’t know that.”

“Sup.” Cavalier says from the prep area behind the cameras and teleprompters, seemingly unfazed by the whole situation. Raptor eyed Cavalier for a moment, handcuffed and still in most of his tactical gear, and placed under the careful guard of General Douchington. He wondered what exactly went down before they showed up here, but decided it was best not to probe for information. The only reason he wasn’t bound up and stuck with the rest yet, was because none of Jeremy’s men knew how to operate the broadcast equipment. The rest of the stations crew and employees were zip-tied, and held in a large conference room on the floor below, under the watch of Nish and 2-D. Nish’s large stature and grisly appearance, along with the nature of his criminal history and occasional references to ‘The Human Centipede’, removed any fleeting thoughts of ‘heroism’ among them.

“I got it open, Jeremy!” CMPunk yells enthusiastically as he appears from the hallway, his face covered in dust, “It wasn’t locked up very good, just a padlock. Doesn’t look like its been used in forever though.”
“Good. It’s still intact then?” Jeremy replies.
“It looks like it.”

Jeremy turns his attention to Douchington, CMPunk, and Zed. The last of whom is very unimpressed with the current situation. Taking hostages and ransoming government employees was not the solution to this merge in Zed’s eyes, even if it was just a bluff. Despite his disappointment, he was stuck with them for the time being.

“Hey,” Raptor whispers toward Cavalier, finding Jeremy’s earlier words hard to believe, “They really haven’t hurt you?”
“Nah. I’ve been alright. They’re more or less reasonable people,” Cavalier says, before shooting General Douchington a quick glance, “Well, most of them. That one’s just a dick.”
“And the others?”
“The tall one that smells like gin seems like he doesn’t even want to be here,” Cavalier nods toward Zed, “And that goofy looking one… CMPunk? There’s something wrong with him.”

Cavalier hushes himself when Jeremy returns, gesturing Raptor to start broadcasting again. “Ready?” Raptor asks, after hoisting the camera back over his shoulder, and holding his hand out for a count of three. Receiving a nod from Jeremy, he counts down, then silently points to Jeremy to signal they’re on air.

Oxob, still arguing with WarCorrespondent over the phone, pauses once Jeremy is displayed on the screens again. This time he was in the prep area, behind the scenes, and standing close to the camera. Douchington could be seen behind him, almost out of frame.

“Stone, WarCorrespondent, whoever is in charge outside. I’ve called your attention here for a reason. Well, a reason aside from my rallying call…” Jeremy says casually, stepping back to reveal Cavalier on his knees in the center of the room, “I believe I have something you want. You have something I want. Bring both of them here. Surely one of your own rookie officers is worth more to you than two petty criminals in an exchange. I want them here within 30 minutes, or he gets the same hospitality we were shown when you and your friends visited me. Call into the studio when they’re here.” Jeremy signals the end of the broadcast.

“Still there?” Oxob asks into the phone, unsure if WarCorrespondent has hung up.
“Yeah…”
“I need you and your men here as soon as possible, and bring Scarecrow and #32.”
“We’re not releasing those prisoners.”
“They’ll give us Cavalier.”
“...” WarCorrespondent considers the deal for a moment before answering. It was under his charge that Cavalier was captured to begin with, “Fine. We’ll be there soon.”
“Good. You got a half hour,” Oxob hangs up before WarCorrespondent has a chance to respond.

After what already seemed like an eternity, Oxob checks his watch. 27 minutes have passed. He considers calling in early to request they extend the deadline, but while running the conversation through his head, his thought process is interrupted by sirens and screeching tires. More squad cars arrive on the scene, followed by a few armored trucks, and a mobile command center. Armed guards hop out from the back of most of the armored trucks before they’ve even come to a complete stop. One of the trucks pulls up beside the equipment van. WarCorrespondent and Jessepinwheel exit, slamming the doors shut behind them. WarCorrespondent bangs on the side, making his way to the rear of the vehicle, gaining Oxob’s attention. As Oxob approaches, the back doors are opened from the inside by Jombo, who then steps out of the way for Scarecrow and #32 to exit.

“Look at this. Red carpet treatment and everything,” WarCorrespondent says, waving them out of the truck.
“Jombo? What are you doing here?” Oxob asks, “Thought you were admin now.”
“Jeff is keeping me on the street until this all blows over,” Jombo replies, “Saving face with the public or something.”
“So he’s just bending over for everybody?”
“No, he’s just easing them into the transition I guess.”
“That’s bullshit.”
“Well there’s something we both actually agree on,” WarCorrespondent says, pulling burlap sacks off the two prisoner’s heads, revealing bruises and black eyes, “What do you want to do with these guys?”
“Why would you bother covering their heads? And what the hell did you do to them?” Oxob questions, ripping the sacks away from him and throwing them back into the truck.
“I was just…” Warcorrespondent shrugs, “persuading them to behave out here before we left.”

WarCorrespondent orders Jessepinwheel and one of his other teams to take positions on top of the building across the street, while Scarecrow and #32 are herded to the front of the police blockades.
“What the fuck is all this about?” #32 asks, as the two of them are brought out into plain view of the building.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was an exchange,” Scarecrow answers, taking in the scene. He notices many of the officers, both FAg and Stickpagian, occasionally turn their attention from their duties and shoot the two of them a dirty glance, as if they had just finished eiffel towering their grandmothers or something. After turning his attention to the buildings entrance, he catches a glimpse of two similar looking figures lurking behind the doors. Sacred and Devour, no doubt.

“Hey look, there they are,” Devour says, pointing outside.
“They actually brought them?” Sacred asks with genuine surprise, “I gotta say, I really didn’t think this would work.”
“I told you. Gotta have some faith,” Devour replies, “We got these guys by the balls.”
“Well we’re not out of the fire yet,” Sacred says, still uneasy about watching dozens of armed men staring at them from other side of the doors.

Oxob receives the number to call from an officer in the van, who has been retrieving all the information about the building he could. Phone numbers, floor plans, electrical circuits, elevator locations, even employee rosters. Oxob dials into the station from a phone on the back of the equipment van, before stepping outside to keep an eye on the SkyTV. Predictably, after a few rings, the SkyTV flares up. The camera is centered again on Cavalier. Jeremy stood to the side, near an electronic control panel. Raptor’s hand appears briefly on screen, pointing Jeremy to the correct panel. “This one?” Jeremy asks, barely audible, as he presses one of the buttons, which consequently ends the phones ringing, and forwards the line to some speakers built into the desk.

“Who am I talking to?” Jeremy asks, stepping out from behind the panel.
“This is Oxob, with the Stickpaeg City Police.”
“Never heard of you. You must be from FluidAnims.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“And I’m guessing everyone else down there is as well, am I right?”
“No, there’re plenty of Stickpagians down here, too.”
“Yeah,” Jeremy says with an eyeroll, “The ones you just brought for me. Right?”
“Yes, they’re here.” Oxob responds, “So how did you expect to do this? I just send your boys up, and you guys try to make an escape?”
“We’ll let Cavalier go first. Then you send my guys up.” Jeremy says, “And if you don’t, we have roughly 40 other hostages up here. Unless you want it to start raining weathermen, I expect to see them up here.”
Oxob glances at Jombo, trying to think quickly, “Are you hurt, Cavalier?”
Jeremy’s facial expression changes to one of insult, prompting Oxob to continue, “I just need to know if I’ll have to call for medical assistance.”
Jeremy nods to Cavalier, allowing him to answer, under the assumption that they would only take his word for it, “No, I’m fine. They haven’t hurt me.”
“Good, good…” Oxob responds, “They’ve treated you fairly then?”
“Yup.”
“Good. Anything else?” Oxob asks, hoping Cavaliers captors haven’t caught onto his questioning yet.
“...” Cavalier considers his next response carefully with a glance toward Douchington, knowing his likely reaction, “They’re going to escape through some tunnels beneath the building.”

“Hey man! Shut up!” CMPunk yells in his high pitched squelchy voice, as he pulls a pistol from the front of his waistband, and puts it to Cavalier’s forehead. The pistol emits a loud bang as the trigger is pulled, and Cavalier’s head is knocked back by the impact of the rubber bullet. After a moment staring at the ceiling, Cavalier’s head fell forward, eyes peering off into space. A 9mm hole was visible right above his eyebrows, from which a thin trail of blood ran down around his nose. Jeremy, as well as the rest of his crew, stood in shock. Douchington watched from the side, mouth agape, as Cavalier’s arms and shoulders went slack and practically fell onto his lap. Zed turned away, unable to face what he become a part of. Nobody moved or said anything, they could only stare at the now lifeless body sitting on its knees in the center of the room. Jeremy, remembering they were live, struggles to regain his composure and repeatedly signals for Raptor to stop broadcasting. The live feed is then cut, and once again replaced with the placeholder screen.

Oxob and Jombo both stood in horror, staring at the now blank screen. WarCorrespondent stood quietly, unable to remove his eyes from the still screen. Anger, guilt, and regret, swelled in the pit of his stomach. By this point, a large crowd had formed around the police barriers, most of which had also suddenly fell silent. Most of the onlookers were just curious or nosey civilians, but there were also reporters and journalists gathering at the front, hoping to get a story for their paper or tomorrow’s news. A couple camera flashes, finally drew WarCorrespondent's gaze away from the screen. “Get out of my face!” he yells, breaking the silence, while throwing a fold-out chair into the crowd, “FUCK OFF!”

“Alright then,” Scarecrow quips sarcastically, “I was cool with prison anyway. Thanks guys.”
“Fuck man. Forget prison, we’re probably getting executed now too,” #32 implies.
“Nah, man we’ll be fine.” responds Scarecrow, before taking a moment to reflect, “Actually, you’re probably right.”

Enraged, WarCorrespondent approaches Oxob from behind, and grabs him by the shoulder, “I’m sending a tac team in. Right now.”
“No, you’re not,” Jombo asserts, turning to aid his friend, “They still have the other hostages up there. We’re not going to risk anymore casualties.”
“You have no authority here, Jombo.” WarCorrespondent snaps, “You’re a desk jockey now. Shut up and go do some desk jockey stuff.”
“He doesn’t, but I do,” Oxob snaps back, “And he’s right. We’re not risking any more casualties.”
“Fuck,” WarCorrespondent points his finger inches away from Oxob’s face, “I’m getting them ready to go in. The second the opportunity presents itself,” he pauses, “…I’m hitting them.”

“What the FUCK!?” Jeremy shouts, ripping the pistol from CMPunk’s hand before grabbing him by the collar, “What the fuck are you thinking?!”
“What?” CMPunk steps back, “I didn’t know it would actually kill him! They’re just rubber bullets.”
“Jeus, CMPunk...” Zed sighs from the corner of the room, covering his face in panic as he begins pacing.
“Ashlander said they would, you fucking retard!” Douchington says, “You’re magically retarded, you know that? Like, nobody can be as naturally fucking stupid as you are.”
“Thats enough, Douchington!” Zed interrupts from the corner of the room, trying to keep things civil, if that was even possible at this point.
“I’m sorry…” CMPunk responds, “But I’m not stupid Douchington. At least I can tell what really been going on here. This guy worked for The-”
“So help me Jeus…” Jeremy spits into CMPunk’s face, still gripping his collar, “…if you say TheRisen, I am going to fucking throw you out the window.”
CMPunk swallowed nervously, and held his tongue.

Footsteps erupt from the hallway. “What’s going on?! We heard a gunshot from downstairs,” Nish yells bursting into the room, before setting his eyes on Cavalier, “…Oh. Shit.”
“What happened? I thought we were trading him in,” 2-D says, closely following Nish.
“We were supposed to,” Jeremy says, finally releasing his grip on CMPunk’s collar as he swings him through some camera equipment, and throwing him to the ground, “This stupid mother fucker doesn’t listen. That’s what happened.”
“Want me to take care of him?” Nish asks, “I know some things that’ll make him squirm.”
“No. Just leave me to think for a minute…” Jeremy answers, running a hand through his hair in frustration. He turns away from the others and leans over the anchor’s desk. “Well, we still have the other hostages,” Jeremy says under his breath.

Down the street, a FluidAnim team was already removing a manhole cover and preparing for a descent into the underworks of the city. Drone, a detective who immigrated to Stickpage shortly after the events of The Reset, was called in to help gather information. He rolls out a dusty blueprint of the city’s underground utilities. The sewage canals were marked by dark green lines, forming a large grid beneath the city.
“From what I’ve heard, these lines have been cut from service for over a decade and blocked off from the rest. Everything was just rerouted to the neighboring lines. This one goes right underneath the TV station,” Drone informs, trailing his index finger along the green line passing below them, “Informant mentioned ******** or something, was using it to smuggle contraband into the city at one point.”
“Well we know where they’re headed now. We can cut them off in the tunnel,” one of the team members replies.

The SkyTV lights up once again, this time centered back on the captured news anchors, with Jeremy taking his previous position behind the two of them. Oxob immediately jumps back to the phone connected to the station. After a short beep to indicate he’d been reconnected, Oxob musters everything he has in order not to blow the whole situation apart by verbally tearing Jeremy’s head off, “So…” he says, “what now?”

“The station crew, for Scarecrow and #32.” Jeremy says calmly.
“And if we refuse?”
“Then one of them will suffer the same fate as Cavalier every half hour until you agree.” Jeremy bluffs, knowing they still had little choice but accept.
“Fine.” Oxob responds with a pause, “But the crew first. Then we’ll release Scarecrow and #32.”
“How do we know you’ll hold up your end?”
“I’m a cop. I’m not allowed to lie about this shit,” Oxob says simply, “Plus, we’re on national TV. I’m not going to lie with the whole country watching. That would just give you more credibility.”

Without a response, Jeremy gives a nod to Raptor, signalling the end of the transmission. Nish and 2-D untie the news anchors and pull them out of their chairs. The female newswoman flails in an attempt to get away from Nish as he grabs her.
Jeremy interjects, pulling the woman away and steering her towards 2-D, “Not her, Nish. You’re taking the other guy.”
Nish shrugs, grabbing the older man by his shoulder, his large hand and strong grip bringing him to his knees, “Alright, I can party with this guy too.” The man’s face is filled with terror as he is practically drug down the hallway. Nish occasionally whispers into his ear, making him struggle even more until they reach the elevator. Once the doors open, the news anchors are thrown in, followed by Nish and 2-D. Another curdling scream from the elderly man seeps through the elevator doors as it descends to the floor below. Zed shakes his head from the corner of the room.

“I seriously doubt they’ll release Scarecrow or #32 now,” Douchington says, standing next to Cavalier, who was still upright on his knees, slightly hunched over. The blood trail on his face had dried, and very little had dripped onto the floor in front of him.
“Yeah well, anyone got any better ideas?” Jeremy says, “I’d love to hear them.”
“Why don’t we just-” CMPunk replies before immediately being hushed by Jeremy.
“Not from you, CMPunk. Just shut up. I don’t want to hear a word,” Jeremy says without so much as a look in his direction.
“We could let Scarecrow and #32 know. If they haven’t figured it out already,” Zed says, “Tell them to make a run for it.”
“That won’t work. Obviously, none of the hostages will do that,” Jeremy responds.
“I’ll do it,” Zed shrugs. The others all blink, “I’ll pose as a released hostage, and let them know when I get out.”
“That could work,” Douchington agrees. “He wants out anyway, everybody wins.”
“What if they recognize you? I don’t know if you’ve realized, but we’ve been a pretty big deal to these guys lately,” Jeremy asks, “What if that uh… WarCorrespondent guy, is down there?”
“I’ll just have to try avoiding him I guess.”
“You realize even if you do get out,” Jeremy pauses with concern, “...they’re bound to pick you up eventually.”
“It’s a risk I’m willing to take. I want no part in where this is headed.” Zed shrugs, “But you’re friends, so if my departure can help you out in some way, it just seems all the more obvious of a choice.”
Jeremy leans back against the desk, scratching his head in thought, “Alright, fine.”
“Wait,” Douchington chips, “What if he talks?”
“First of all… this is Zed we’re talking about here. Not a better guy exists in Stickpage,” Jeremy responds, “Second… What’s he going to say? We plan to take to take over a TV station? I don’t even know our next move yet, much less Zed.”
“True. I got nothing to tell them anyway,” Zed shrugs as he guides the last few crew members into the hall where Douchington them in the elevator to meet up with the others. Zed waves back to Raptor, “Come on, you can go now, too.”
“Actually,” Raptor says, looking to Jeremy, “I think I’m going to stay with you guys, if thats alright.”
“Raptor, please.” CMPunk scoffs, prodding him in the chest, “Why don’t you just leave this to the professionals, alright?”
“CMPunk. Shut. The fuck. Up.” Jeremy says, pushing him back, “Just stop. Stop talking. Stop thinking. Stop moving. Sto-”
“Stop breathing!” Douchington yells from the elevator just before the doors come to a close.
“We need everyone we can get.” Jeremy turns back to the cameraman, “You’re free to come with us if you want.”

Down at the entrance of the building, Sacred and Devour continue their standoff with the Task Force’s entry team. Jeremy had alerted them that the crew members would be coming down shortly to be released, neglecting to mention the incident with Cavalier. The two of them shrugged it off as a minor change of plan. After a few minutes, three of the four central elevators rung. The doors opened, and the station employees were herded out into the lobby. Sacred and Devour raised their guns to keep them in order until they were ready to be released. Jeremy eventually makes his way through the crowd, “Hey, CMPunk has gone down to keep the tunnel entrance ready for us. That way he’s out of the way, and we can make a quick getaway.”
“Good,” Sacred says, “I’m about done getting eyeballed by these guys.”
“Let the hostages out, wait for Scarecrow and #32, then get downstairs asap,” Jeremy instructs, “The rest of us are going to head down now.”
“Got it.” Devour acknowledges, waving the station employees up, as Jeremy disappears back into the crowd. As the employees shuffle around the lobby, Sacred spots Zed, accompanied by the smell of gin.
“Zed?” Sacred yells, “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be downstairs.”
“No,” Zed replies, making his way to Sacred, “I’m out. I’ve got no part in this fight.”
“Oh.” Sacred responds, slightly envious, “Damn man. Well good luck.”
“Be ready for Scarecrow and #32, they should be running through any minute.”
“Got it.”
“You guys ready?” Devour asks, hands on the entrance doors.

The task force members stand ready around the entrance of the building when the crowd of employees explode through the front doors. The entry team throw their arms out, blocking and grabbing, in an attempt to stop the crowd from breaking through and into the barricade. Zed, as tall as he is, attempts to keep his head down as he makes a beeline toward Scarecrow and #32. Jeremy was correct as it turns out, WarCorrespondent was here, right next to his targets. Fortunately people were panicking and running in all directions, so he figured he should be able to run past quickly without being noticed. One of the other runners crosses into his planned trajectory, forcing him to collide right into Scarecrow, nearly knocking him to the ground, “Run now!” He briefly catches the attention of WarCorrespondent, who gets a glimpse of him as he breaks through to the street and disappears into the ocean of reporters. Confused, #32 helps pull Scarecrow back to his feet.
“Zed?” Scarecrow whispers to #32, before the odd command sinks in. Scarecrow quickly eyes WarCorrespondent, then Oxob, both of whom were preoccupied with trying to stop the incoming civilians. Taking a deep breath, he lunges forward, pushes one of the officers out of the way, and runs straight into the crowd, whom were still coming through the front doors. Caught off guard, #32 follows suit, jumping over the downed officer, who had already been trampled two or three times. “HEY!” WarCorrespondent yells, failing to grab #32 before he takes cover among the escaping TV station workers.

The entry team, spotting the two escapees, raise their weapons. The sign of aggression just hurls the crowd into further panic, many people ducking and covering their heads, screaming, and running blindly in all directions.
“Hold your fire! Hold your fire!” Oxob yells immediately, running out in front of the officers, “Do NOT shoot into the crowd! Hold your fire until the civilians are clear!” Scarecrow and #32 slam into the entrance doors after the last of the station workers exit the building. The two squeeze through just as Devour pulls them closed.
“Damn,” Sacred says, throwing a chain around the entrance door handles, “I thought it was going to be a straight up exchange.” Scarecrow does not reply, staring out the door as the hostages disperse outside, bringing fully automatic weapons and tear gas into view.
“Shit,” he mumbles as he jumps away from the door, grabbing Sacred with him. The glass doors explode as bullets break through them, many ricocheting throughout the lobby. “Jeez!” Sacred yells, crashing against the wall, “What the fuck?!” Devour crouches near the edge of the door drawing his MP5 as the tac team stops to reload, and fires a couple short bursts into the nearest FAg. The impact of the rubber bullets send the officer to the ground quickly, hitting him numerous times.
“Yeah!” Devour shouts shortly before the officer sits up and climbs back to his feet, the body armor taking the brunt of the impact. Scarecrow helps Sacred to his feet, as #32 pulls Devour away from the door. A series of clicking as the tac teams new magazines were locked into their receivers, was followed by only a couple short seconds before gunfire, once again, sent glass and debris scattering through the lobby.

On the first level of the basement, Jeremy and the rest of his crew approach the unsealed entrance into the tunnels. It was a large round steel hatch, with a ladder leading down about twenty feet into a rounded tunnel. CMPunk was actually right about something for once, Jeremy thinks to himself. The tunnel looked like it had seen better days. Dust covered the otherwise clean floor around the hatch, and the way down was littered with cobwebs. The concrete inside the tunnel appeared to be unmaintained, heavily cracked and corroded, and appeared brittle.

Screams erupted from within the tunnels, “Cops!” CMPunk yells, sprinting into view before leaping onto the ladder. Douchington shrugs, the rest of the group sharing a collective eye roll.
“This guy, man,” Douchington says, interrupted by a couple rounds of gunfire blasted off down the tunnel.
“Oh shit, fuck!” he yells, kneeling down to give CMPunk a hand. Bits of concrete and dust fill the air, as the side of the ladder enclosure is blown apart with gunfire. CMPunk is barely pulled away from the hatch when two armed officers run into the view below.
“Oh yeah?!” Douchington yells into the tunnel, grasping the steel lid and lifting it up. “Well, fuck you guys!” he yells before slamming the hatch closed. CMPunk quickly drops to slide out, and flip the locking bar. A couple rounds ricochet off the underside, followed by a muffled “Don’t shoot at it you idiot!”

“Damnit, we have to go,” Jeremy says, throwing a hand back toward the stairwell.
“What? They’re all over the exits on the ground floor!” Douchington retorts.
“What other options are there?” Jeremy responds, opening the stairwell door.
“You faggots should have seen that coming.” 2-D yells from the back as they double-step their way back up to the ground floor.
“Fucking Cavalier,” CMPunk contributes, “this is all his fault!”
“No, fucking you!” Douchington yells, “This is all your fucking fault!”

Back in the lobby, the entry team pauses their fire as a few of them kick out the remaining glass from the entrance doors and surrounding windows. After the glass is clear they step through, weapons ready. Scarecrow and #32 sat behind cover of the reception desk, flanked by Devour and Sacred, who were both blind firing around the corners of the desk. #32, bled heavily from his leg after taking a ricochet round to the thigh. Sacred, having run out of ammunition, breaks away from the desk. Three short bursts of fire follow him to the side of the lobby, where he ducks behind a large potted plant. The plant only provided cover for a few seconds. After being struck by a couple rounds, it exploded and collapsed across the lobby, spilling soil across the floor. It provided cover long enough for Sacred to smash the fire extinguisher cabinet open. “Devour!” Sacred yells, hurling the red canister near the entrance. Devour slightly pokes his head around the corner the locate the object, before flinging his body around the desk and taking aim at the fire extinguisher. The rubber bullets prove useless, bouncing off the metal tank, and just send it spinning across the floor. Devour maintains his fire, desperately hoping to hit a weak spot. Just as he was about to withdraw back behind the counter, a lucky couple rounds strike the aluminum fitting atop of the tank. The fire extinguisher spins into the air violently, a thick white dry chemical cloud erupting from the nozzle. It narrowly misses one of the officers as it rockets across the entrance. Using the cloud as cover, Sacred waves Devour and the rest over to the stairwell. #32 lets out a soft grunt, falling back to a knee halfway across the room. Scarecrow looks back to find #32 struggling, a trail of blood dripping from his thigh. “Thought you guys might have forgotten about me,” #32 jokes as Scarecrow pulls his arm over his shoulder to help him across the lobby. Devour, realising the slow-down, falls back to cover them from behind. He holds his fire to prevent giving away their position, at least until everybody is safely on the other side. The stairwell door unexpectedly swings open, the slight difference in air pressure sucking the chemical cloud in. “Guys, come on!” Jeremy yells, covering his face. Devour ensures everybody is inside before slamming the stairwell door closed behind him.
“I thought you were going to the tunnel.” Sacred says with a pant, handing his empty MP5 off to Devour, who slides it through the door handle, hoping to prevent it being opened from the other side.

“They were waiting for us down there.” Jeremy replies.
“Great,” Sacred exhales, “So, what now?”
“I don’t know,” Jeremy says, meeting the gaze of everybody in the stairwell, sensing his loss of grip on the situation, “I’m sorry. But I just don’t know.”
“Well you better figure something out quick!” Douchington yells over the rattling of the stairwell door. The entry team had apparently found their way across the lobby. “We don’t exactly have a lot of time.”
“Raptor,” Jeremy calls, turning to the cameraman, “Are there any other ways out of here?”
“Not that I know of.” He shrugs in response.
“Shit,” Jeremy responds, before another loud bang shakes the stairwell door, almost knocking the MP5 loose.
“We need to go.” Devour says, quickly repositioning the gun.

Devours statement rings truer than he thought, when a sudden blast echoes through the stairwell, originating from the basement.
“What the hell was that?” Sacred asks.
“Sounds like they just blew the hatch open,” Jeremy responds. CMPunk is the first to take off up the stairs. Jeremy follows, but stops halfway up to goad the rest through. Jeremy notices #32s condition as him and Scarecrow pass. Lifting #32s other arm over his shoulder, Jeremy helps to get him up the stairs as quickly as possible. As they pass the third floor, a loud metallic clank reverberates through the concrete enclosure as the MP5 bounces off the floor only a couple levels below.
“Up the stairs, go!” one of the men yells. Jeremy and the others hurry their climb, swiftly ascending the stairs. Even #32, who’s stopped bleeding, has mustered the willpower to put the pain aside until they’ve reached safety. 6th floor. 7th floor. The sound of footsteps behind them grows closer with each level they climb. Jeremy eventually decides to take a detour through the door to the 8th floor. He finds himself back in the hallway to the broadcasting room. Raptor, Douchington, and the rest follow into the hall as Jeremy searches for something to barricade the door with. Raptor hurries back into the newsroom, flipping some switches on the control panel as he makes his way to one of the cameras and lifts it back up to his shoulder.

“What the fuck are you doing?” #32 asks.
“They might not attack if they see they’re on TV,” Raptor responds.
“Who the fuck is this guy anyway?” #32 asks.
“He’s a recruit. He stayed with us instead of leaving with the rest,” Jeremy answers from behind a large desk, as he and Douchington block off the stairwell door.
“Wait,” Scarecrow pauses, recalling the collision with Zed outside, “Why was Zed out there?”
“He wanted out. So he got out,” Jeremy replies, clearly begrudged, “It was also our only way to tip you off to make a run for it. Honestly, part of me is surprised he even held that part up.”
“Why wouldn’t he?” Scarecrow asks.
“He hasn't… been quite with us, while you guys were inside,” Jeremy answers.
“He didn’t agree with the methods,” Douchington adds.
“Well, this does seem a little extreme. But I guess I don’t really know what's going on.”
“What’s going on…” CMPunk jumps into the conversation, much to everyone's dismay, “...is that TheRisen has been brainwashing and corrupting our government, under the guise of FluidAnims. And it’s up to us to fight back.”
“I swear to Jeus, CMPunk!” Douchington yells, pressing his temples, “If you mention him one more time...”
“If you mention him one more time,” Nish interrupts, patting Douchington on the shoulder as if to console him, “I’m going to skin you alive. Wear your flesh as a suit. Then proceed to FUCKING RAPE YOU! And if you haven’t died by that point, I’ll proceed to rape your special ed fucking family too.”
“It’s true,” Scarecrow adds, “I was an NTF. I’ve seen his criminal record.”
“But think about it,” CMPunk continues, despite the threats, “TheRisen trashed the economy. He drained and took off with the federal reserve, forcing us to reset all the banks and shit. That made us weak. Who’s gaining the most on that? FluidAnims. Did we ever catch him? No. He’s obviously Stone. Or Jeff. Or maybe they are just his pawns!”

Nish, not one to let his promises fall flat, grabs CMPunk by the collar and slams him up against the wall, while simultaneously retrieving a large serrated knife from the inside of his jacket. “Holy shit,” #32 says, almost knocked over by the locomotive that is Nish.
“Leave him,” Jeremy orders, pulling the knife away from CMPunk’s chest. Sacred enters the news room, running his hand through his hair anxiously, until his eyes fall on Cavalier, still kneeling in the center of the room.

“Whoa! What the fuck?!” he yells, jumping at the sight.
“You guys didn’t know about that yet?” Scarecrow asks, finding the irony slightly amusing.
“No, we were downstairs the whole time,” Sacred answers, “Why didn’t you tell us about this?”
“Why?” Douchington retorts, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’ve been pretty busy dodging the proverbial shit since it hit the fan.”
Sacred swells with anger, “Well maybe there would be no proverbial shit to dodge, if we didn’t fucking start killing people!”
“Whoa, man.” Devour pushes Sacred back, sensing the end of his rope coming, “Lets just take a seat over here.”

“Great rescue plan you had here Jeremy,” #32 says, leaning back against the control panel and gripping his thigh. The leg of his orange jumpsuit had been turned red with blood, though the wound had coagulated enough to stop the bleeding for the time being.
“Let’s just stop pointing fingers long enough to get ourselves out of here,” Jeremy says, brushing off #32’s sarcasm, “Alright?”

“Raptor.” he says, after receiving agreement, “This is your building, what would you suggest?”
“I dont know. The tunnel and ground floor are both off limits I guess. Roof?” he replies.
“Helicopter.” Scarecrow mentions.
“You sure?” Jeremy asks.
“Yes. We fucking saw it.” #32 responds irritably.

A loud impact from the stairwell door interrupts the conversation. The heavy desk does it’s job, keeping the door closed, though it’s knocked slightly farther away as each enforcer throws his body weight into the door.

“Shit… CMPunk, call the elevator.” Jeremy orders, desperately hoping the lift arrives before the cops do.
“Where the fuck are we going to go when it gets here?” Douchington asks, turning his attention back from the stairwell.
“The roof,” Jeremy announces, fully knowing that it was a bad idea, as well as the end of the line. But there were no other options left. Raptor raises the camera back up and reestablishes the live broadcast.

Outside the building, the SkyTV flickers back to life, immediately grabbing Oxob and Jombo’s attention. WarCorrespondent had left to take part in the raid of the entrance. After a few seconds of static clear, the SkyTV once again displays a clear picture. Jeremy and three of his crewmen were onscreen, guns focused down the hallway in front of them. This time, Jeremy did not appear to be in control. He was panicked. He didn’t show it to the rest of his men, but Oxob could tell.

“What’s going on now?” Jombo asks.
“This is bad,” Oxob replies, “Don’t tell me they’re going to martyr themselves on TV.”
“You think that’s it?” Jombo asks skeptically.

Oxob removes a radio from his waist, “WarCorrespondent.” The radio emits static in place of a response. “WarCorrespondent.” he repeats.
“What?” he finally buzzes back over the radio.
“Do not open fire on them,” Oxob orders, “They-”

He’s interrupted by a prominent ding blasting through the SkyTV speakers. The camera spins around to display the elevator and another of Jeremy’s men. The doors open and the cameraman hurries over to the elevator before turning back, just as the stairwell door bursts open. The first two officers into the hall are quickly dropped by the incoming rubber bullets, though they were immediately followed by more men, quickly filling the hallway and returning fire. Jeremy and his men break away and run back toward the camera, and into the elevator. #32’s retreat is slowed greatly by his wounded leg. Realising he won’t be able to make it to the elevator, he stops and turns toward the police as they pour into the newsroom. Dropping to his knees and placing his hands on his head, he repeatedly shouts “Alright, alright, I surrender!” as he’s quickly surrounded. One of the approaching officers, without displaying as much as a second thought, fires a single round through his forehead, before turning his attention to the cameraman. “Come on!” somebody yells from offscreen as the camera jerks and then falls to the ground, landing on its side. Some of the officers rush across the room as the elevator dings again and the doors close.

Oxob and Jombo both stand in shock outside the building. The civilian crowd around the barricade bursts into outrage, shouting obscenities and throwing things. The reactions among the police themselves varied widely, from angry outcries, to joyful cheers. Oxob tosses the radio to the side, shaking his head. It no longer mattered what the outcome of this particular situation came to be. Jeremy was getting his war.

The elevator opens atop the roof and a strong wind gusts through the doors, accompanied by the deafening sound of rotors above them. Jeremy raises his arm, blocking his face from the gust as he analyzes the scene. There was indeed a helicopter waiting for them at the top. The side door was open, with two armed men leaning out and guns drawn in their direction. No doubt the same was true on the other side as well. A news chopper sat on the helipad across the roof. The stairwell exited onto the roof right underneath the helipad, built into its base. Perhaps they could fly out, but it’s doubtful the keys would be inside, and they probably wouldn’t make it far under fire from another helicopter. There’s also the problem of lacking a pilot as well, but he figures taking off and maneuvering would be manageable enough. Landing could be worried about when the time came. Nish, 2-D, and Devour were the first to leave the elevator enclosure, opening fire on the helicopter as soon as they step out. The rest of the group ducks back inside, hiding around the corners as the helicopter returns fire. The tactical armor of the men in the helicopter provides more than adequate protection against the non-lethal ammunition, the two of them taking numerous hits without the need to retreat into the chopper for cover. Jeremy steps out of the elevator with a shotgun, most of the fire focused on the other three, and fires a beanbag straight into the face-mask of the forward-most helicopter shooter. The impact knocks his head back, and he grabs blindly for the side as he tips forward and out of the chopper. “Jomm!” the other yells, attempting to grab him. Taking notice of the downed FAg, Nish kicks the man's weapon away, sending it sliding off the roof. As he climbs back to his feet, and unlatches the bloody face mask from his helmet, Nish tosses his own MP5 to the side and cracks his knuckles “Come at me bro.” Jomm grunts as he lunges forward and charges, keeping his center of gravity low. Nish steps into a defensive position, taking his own low stance to absorb the full force of Jomm’s impact.

The helicopter slowly pivots above them to bring the shooters on the other side into action. Devour opens fire on the windshield. The rubber bullets, again, prove useless, serving only to scare the piss out of the pilot as he needlessly ducks behind the instrument cluster. Three faint pops, immediately followed by three holes punching through the helicopter’s windshield, send the chopper into a heavy right side bank, colliding into the news helicopter. The rooftop lights up as the fuel tanks ignite, sending flames and debris across the entire roof, before the flames recede around the wreckage.
“Dude, when did you get real ammo?” Douchington asks from behind Devour, jaw agape. “I didn’t,” he turns back, with genuine surprise.

The whir of helicopter rotors did not end with the crash. It only grew louder as a large black streak blurred over their heads from behind. It stopped over the center of the roof, the top of the flames tickling the bottom of the old Blackhawk as it turns, bringing Ashlander into view, kneeling behind the sliding door with an M16.
“Oh shit, I’m glad to see that!” Nish cheers, as he tightens a chokehold around Jomm’s neck, who’s clawing for freedom.
“There’s no room for a landing,” the pilot, Jaso, shouts into the back of the helicopter. The wreckage on the helipad, as well as the debris scattered across the the roof, left no room for a conventional touchdown. The smoke from the burning rubble also limited visibility and made attempting a landing even more hazardous.

The door to the stairwell under the helipad swings open violently, bouncing off the outside wall. Smile, acting as pointman, ventures out onto the roof first, shouting at Jeremy and the others to put their weapons down. He’s closely followed by WarCorrespondent and Jessepinwheel, both suited up in kevlar vests and armed with automatic weapons. Ashlander quickly fires another three-round burst, immediately taking Smile down, as Jaso maneuvers the helicopter closer to the roof. The rest of the assault team opens fire as they exit the stairwell. “To the choppa!” Nish bellows through the smoke, throwing a bloody fist up. Jeremy and the rest run toward the helicopter, Devour and 2-D firing blindly to the side. Ashlander watches everyone approach from the side of the Blackhawk, as Devour disappears into the smoke after a secondary explosion. Hearing the blast, Sacred stops to look back. Devour laid unconscious, a large gash across his forehead, and metal fragments scattered nearby.

The smoke began to clear as Ashlander assisted 2-D into the helicopter, leaving only Sacred and Devour. The moment Sacred became visible, dragging Devour behind, the roof once again erupted into gunfire. Sacred keeps his head low and tries to stay behind any cover he can, ducking behind ventilation ducts and exhaust fans. “Help!” Sacred screams across the roof, unable to drag Devour through the gunfire. Ashlander scrambles back to the side of the helicopter after Nish hurls himself back out the side. Jessepinwheel and the rest of the fire team scatter behind cover as Ashlander fires on them, 5.56mm rounds whizzing past their heads. WarCorrespondent, left in the open alone, briefly follows Nish across the roof with the barrel of his assault rifle, until a glimmer catches his eye around Ashlander’s neck. That’s right, he’s the Medal of Honor guy, WarCorrespondent thinks to himself, throwing his aim back towards Ashlander, who ducks back behind the sliding door. Frustrated with WarCorrespondent’s persistence, Ashlander pops out from the side of the helicopter, gripping a small green object in his hand. He hurls it into the air, and WarCorrespondent watches the M61 hand grenade land a few feet in front of him with a slight bounce. “Shit.” he mumbles, backing into the stairwell and throwing the door closed to block the blast. Sacred gets Devour back up with the assistance of Nish, just as the M61 goes off, blowing the stairwell door clean off the hinges and down the stairs. “Whoa, shit!” Nish is caught by surprise as they carry Devour to the chopper.

“Let’s go!” Ashlander pounds behind the cockpit, after everyone was securely in the helicopter.
“How did you find us?” Jeremy yells over the rotors.
“You know you were on every TV in Stickpage, right?” Ashlander shouts back.