The screech of the sirens bellow through the air as the overhead lights turn red. With the opening of the cell doors the moment has finally come.
Deep in my mind, an overwhelming urge. I am compelled to call out, “Alpha, 2 zero 5__ Alpha, 2 zero 5.”
Without even knowing what I am saying I can hear the nameless voices of others in response, “Reaper, six, awaken__ Reaper, six, awaken.”
Shockingly, this sequence is like a long lost friend, a command, a code unlocking the powerful reliving of a memory. My mind instinctively responds to this instruction. Without hesitation or thought, I jump from the cell doorway towards a scrambling guard down below.
As I fall through the air, I know that my purpose is to knock the guard to the ground, nothing more. I raise my hands above my head in preparation for the impact - yes, a move I have rehearsed a thousand times.
How long have I been in this place? Why am I hear? I can feel a purpose, but cannot remember.
The guard alertly looks up just before impact, but it is too late. I drive all my weight into his shoulder / upper torso, cushioning my fall while delivering a formidable blow. I remember that my cell height was a factor in the equation. Jumping from 4 rows up gives me the downward velocity to hit him with 3.76 times the force of my normal body weight. Yes, it was actually written into the plan.
Watching his body hit the floor, I quickly distance myself. This is a dream that I have watched in my head over and over. Two other prisoners quickly pin him down, and right on queue, a third stomps on his throat.
As the 3rd prisoner shifts his body weight to exert an incapacitating pressure on the guard’s neck, he looks to me, “Stagger, A, 1, Identify.”
Still beyond explanation, I know this call, my instincts immediately respond, “3, 3, 9, Unite.”
With a puzzled look on his face, “Who the fuck are you?” he quickly looks over my shoulder, “Where's LOXRRN?”
I repeat in confirmation, “3, 3, 9, Unite,” as I know that I am in sequence, but also aware that I am a stranger to this team.
Reaching beyond my correct response, he insists, “Yeah, but who are you?”
“XTNSHN,” I reply; all of them now staring at me. A fatherly voice inside my head echoes 'The team will question you. They will doubt you, and you may doubt yourself__ but trust the code__ stick to the plan.' "Are you GEOTOR?" I add as a means to confirm his identification.
The three of them make eye contact as they realize I was likely inserted to replace the role of LOXRRN. GEOTOR looks back at me with a mixture of distrust and frustration, “Stomp, Fever, 5!”
I run over and quickly place the heal of my foot on his foot, before rhythmically counting down ”3, 2, 1.” At zero we both pounce down with all our weight, the guard's neck crunches, our combined pressure severing his command artery. His body goes limp.
GEOTOR reaches down to secure the (batting baton) from the guard's hand, then hooks the long end behind my leg in order to shove me to the ground. "Stick to your sequence!" He commands, assuming a threatening posture over me, his battle-hardened face scowling with a militant focus, “And stay out of my way.”
One of the other prisoners jumps to his feet, grabbing GEOTOR's arm, “We have to get to the 3rd block before they send reinforcements.”
GEOTOR rears his head back, shouting out the next sequence, “Tripper, 8, 9 !!" and turns to run down the corridor of the cell block.
“I'm TNNZZA, Reconnaissance,” the prisoner says, extending his hand to help me up.
“XTN” I reply, with no recollection of myself belonging to an army.
“This is GRESSN, demolitions,” TNNZZA refers to the other prisoner now squatting down in preparation to lift the guard by his shoulders. "Do you know what to do?" TNNZZA questions, grabbing one of the guard's legs.
“Yes,” I respond, grabbing the second leg, “We need to carry him to the rally point, I don't know anything beyond that. I can't remember.”
GRESSN chuckles, “None of us do." Giddy in the moment, his eyes glisten as if this is all a game, “The breakout plan is divided up in each of us__ in pieces.”
In unison we lift and begin to carry the guard. TNNZZA elaborates, “A timer unlocks your memory to a code. That code, in turn, unlocks the dormant instructions to others when they hear the sequence. That was the only way to sneak the plan past the scanners.”
GRESSN laughs, “Yeah, and you don't have to contemplate shit like life, or your own destiny__ cause he already decided it for you.”
I presume GRESSN is referring to the voice in my head and ask, “Who is…”
“Father,” GRESSN raises his eyebrows, sarcastically indicating a degree of secrecy, “the man with the plan.”
TNNZZA adds, “Father is a code name. He is the one who encoded our memories.”
GRESSN snickers, “Yeah, mind fucked us all. A grand Puppet Master.”
TNNZZA continues, “He encrypted your cerebral as a defense mechanism. Breaking up the plan ensures that it wouldn't be revealed if one of us was cracked.”
Moving past the stacked rows of cells, the aged, cold walls tell a story of suppression and power. I search for answers in my vague recollection of time with Father 'There are many that have gone before you..' his words indicating that I somehow know what to do, 'your path will be different.' Wanting to understand, I ask GRESSN, “What is this place?”
“This is eternity man, the epic bowels of time." His reply has a spiteful sarcasm, appearing as a means to cope with captivity, “We're the cogs of the factory.”
Noting grease stains on GRESSN's shoulder, I realize that each of us are soiled in dirt; the stains of physical labor.
TNNZZA adds, “We were awakened on the hour,” clearly thinking I know more than I do, “This is the FIVE. It's a timed rotation.”
Not understanding what he is fully talking about, my instincts tell me to keep quiet.
GRESSN raises his voice, “All I know is that I am ready to kick some ass!" enjoying the adrenalin like rush, “Get the (fuck) outta here!!”
The weight of the guard's body becomes apparent as the three of us struggle to keep pace.
I call out, “Is he dead?" not sure what to expect next.
“Who gives a (shit),” GRESSN dismisses in angst.
“Technically no,” TNNZZA adds, “We are going to disassemble his cerebral and get some intel.”
GRESSN grins while looking down at the guard, “You hear that drone boy?" In between steps he manages to use his knee to hit the guard's dangling head, “We aren't finished with you yet.”
Up ahead, GEOTOR belts a warning, “SPRINTER, X, 9 !!”
A PRMMTR has gotten past them and is heading directly at us. My minds fills with familiarity and I blurt out, “Catapult, Rip 4,” as a coordinated defense move.
As we set the guard down, my thoughts begin to race while simultaneously sensing that we are in slow motion.
All 3 of us sprint directly towards the approaching PRMMTR. Although TNNZZA is out in front, I sense his strides are an illusion.
Just behind me GRESSN calls out, “Step, 5, drop.” and TNNZZA abruptly stops, dropping to one knee, leaning all the way forward, his arched back suddenly serving as a launch platform. As I remain focused on the approaching PRMMTR, the corner of my eye feels GRESSN running up TNNZZA's back, catapulting himself into the air, screaming out "Slipper ! !" I transfer the full velocity of my sprint into a slide across the floor, folding my left knee in order to extend my right foot out front.
With the full recollection of my simulated training, I am reunited with my admiration for this combination. Attacking from the air, GRESSN is focused on the PRMMTR's chest while I slide in low to take out his legs; a combination placing the PRMMTR in a rare moment of simple indecision. ... From afar, someone watching in real time would perceive us striking the PRMMTR at the same time, but this is not the case. The timed coordination between myself and GRESSN is designed to combine our body mass into a collective weapon. My arrival is calculated at 15 milliseconds ahead of GRESSN’s.
As I jettison out the heal of my foot directly into the PRMMTR's knee, my inertia dislodges his plant foot, exposing him to bear the brunt of GRESSN's full body weight coming down from above. ... Slamming the PRMMTR's torso to the floor, GRESSN rolls across his chest onto his right arm, ripping the baton from the PRMMTR's stunned hand. I latch onto the PRMMTR's legs, holding them while GRESSN rears up on one knee, his arms high above his head, both hands grasping the baton. With no time to defend himself, the PRMMTR takes a fatal blow. GRESSN's downward swing of the baton chops directly into the center of the PRMMTR's Ethereal.
GRESSN's widened eyes take a moment of pleasure in looking at his kill before turning to me, “Fuckin’ rush isn't it?”
He flicks the baton into the air in my direction. I instinctively catch it. The familiarity of its weight in my hands creates a moment of deja vu. I spin it around from side to side, a sudden recollection of having been trained on using it. What else am I capable of?
TNNZZA alerts our focus back onto our incapacitated guard, “We're five seconds behind. Lets get him to the rally point.”