Modsoldiers 2: Erick and the Colonel Meet
This is the second and shorter section of an action oriented story being posted online for free. The first section can be reached through the Falsor Wing profile or through a link beneath the story. Thanks to those who answer the poll to let me know if held your attention or not.
A military science-fiction story chronicling the private war a group of three genetically engineered super-soldiers who have been in hiding for years after a seemingly inexplicable attempt by their own military to kill them and their families. Their flight eventually turns into resistance and an increasingly bloody campaign to destabilize the power of oligarchy ruling most of the known world.
Erick opened his eyes to see the sun cresting over the eastern horizon revealing a sparkling clean damp world. Though anyone else would see this as a beautiful sunrise, Erick bolted to his feet and swore, looking this way and that. How could he have let himself sleep in this long, laying in public in broad daylight while completely defenseless? They were fortunate no security officers had come by yet. He bent over and tapped his sister on the head. “Ellie, we have to go now.”
The first thing Elizabeth became aware of was her hunger, she was famished. Elizabeth looked up at Erick. He must really be starving, she thought. Erick had always been hungrier and eaten more than Elizabeth could believe. As Erick stretched in the morning sunlight Elizabeth took a good look at him. He was now twenty-one years old and he had, not surprisingly, grown and changed since the last time she’d seen him. At about 5’9” with a medium build, Erick looked fairly muscular without looking like a body builder. His once-handsome face was now marred by a small scar running from near his left ear to over his left eyebrow and a feral glint to his once unconcerned eyes. His black hair was wildly unkempt, but she felt that was reasonable given his circumstances. Erick’s clothing was a shambles and gave her a good idea of how he had been living: a brown leather trench coat with numerous pockets and more numerous holes covered a relatively intact once-white long-sleeved wool shirt. His pants, a dozen sizes too big for him, were the bottom from a blue rain suit. The waist and ankles were tied with twine. Most horrifying was his foot coverings, which looked as though they could only have been shoes in some distant past. He was filthy, and his face was covered with stubble, his sunken bloodshot eyes looked exhausted until she looked into his dark pupils which seemed to exude power and intelligence. As Elizabeth scrutinized her brother’s face he suddenly wobbled and stuck his hand out to lean against the tree they had slept under. Elizabeth stood up and poked him in the belly experimentally. As she suspected he seemed malnourished.
“Erick, when was the last time you ate?”
Erick looked bashful; he hadn’t stopped tailing her long enough to eat. “Um… a little over a week ago.”
“Well then, that’s it; we’re going to eat.”
Erick looked around nervously, “We don’t have time; the men will find us. We should get out of the city a soon as possible. They’ll have found the little boy by now and begun hunting. It’s not safe.”
Elizabeth’s tone was firm, however. “No whining. Your mysteeeeerious pursues will catch you even easier if you pass out.”
As the two begin walking across the well-cut grass towards the sidewalk at the edge of the park, Elizabeth pulled out her coin purse and examined its contents. Elizabeth suddenly blushed bright pink and looked over at her brother sheepishly, “Erick I don’t have enough money to get enough for both of us. Payday is tomorrow and, well… gosh, I guess I can get something small for you because you haven’t eaten in so long.”
Erick smiled. He hadn’t paid for food in years. “It’s alright sis, I think I can get us some food. Follow me.” Erick turned and began heading towards the maple tree-dotted hill on the other side of the park. A large brick building rested at the top of the hill.
A short while later Erick led Elizabeth onto the campus of the prestigious Sir George’s Academy. Having one’s children attend Sir George’s was a status symbol among the upper class; Elizabeth had almost been sent there herself. Erick pulled the cell phone out of his tattered trench coat and grinned at Elizabeth. “Watch this; spoiled kids are the world’s easiest marks.”
Twenty minutes later the violent shouting match being waged by the group of overfed youngsters competing for Erick’s phone stopped abruptly when a man, the principle by the look of his suit and the horrified students’ faces, strode around the corner.
“What’s all this commotion back here…” the principle stopped, and his expression turned severe as he saw the two unauthorized visitors surrounded by the students.
Without a pause Erick swore and bolted towards the edge of the campus stuffing the rest of a PB&J down his throat. Erick had assumed Elizabeth was right behind him. She wasn’t. Instead of running Elizabeth was standing there turning pink as she greeted her boss.
The man stopped his hollering as he recognized her. “Elizabeth? What on earth are doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at work right now? And what are you doing with this vagabond who’s trying to rob my students? You haven’t fallen in with a bad crowd have you?” the man’s voice was as fatherly as a voice could be.
Elizabeth smiled, “Oh, it’s nothing like that sir. He’s my long lost brother. He just thought we would be able to buy some food this way.”
The Colonel’s eyes widened, “You finally found your brother? Well that’s great news. You’ve been searching for him since I hired you. You don’t have to beg Elizabeth. Why don’t you two come back up to the school with me, and you can breakfast with me in my office. It’s quite good, I assure you.”
Elizabeth beamed, “Thank you sir.” The young girl turned and bellowed down the hill, “Erick get back here you goof! It’s all right, you’re not in any trouble. This is the man I work for!”
Erick, eyes suspicious and searching, slowly walked back to his sister who grinned at him. Erick’s first look at the Colonel revealed quite an imposing character. This colonel had the most perfect posture Erick had ever seen and stood about 6’5” all of it solid. The Colonel’s face was firm almost like it was chiseled out of rock, not muscular necessarily but hard. His hair was jet black and perfectly kept in a short conservative haircut he would have been handsome if he wasn’t so intimidating. What bothered Erick was the Colonel’s eyes; hard and intelligent they reminded him of his own eyes but older, more experienced. Behind those eye’s hidden in that man’s perfectly maintained appearance was something unsettling, frightening.
“See that wasn’t so bad. He says he’ll give us breakfast!”
Erick shook his head. “Thank you, sir, but we were just on our way. Maybe some other time…”
Elizabeth glared at him. “How rude! We do, indeed, have time to eat. I’m sorry, Colonel, this sullen boy is my brother Erick. Erick this is Colonel Ferrin.”
When the two shook hands the Colonel glanced at the young man’s face… and froze looking with great interest at the boys face. Oh god it’s him, I need a phone right now.
Erick and Elizabeth noticed the Colonel’s expression, and there was an awkward silence during which Erick started to get the feeling he had met this colonel before. Erick felt a growing sense of unease about the older man. Finally the Colonel’s face turned back to its former jolly state.
“Sorry about that you two, I just remembered something I have to do. Lets hurry up to the school shall we?”
On their way to the school Erick quickly whispered, “Does he know who you are?”
Elizabeth shook her head slightly. “No. I think Mr. Oshin told him I was a former maid who moved to the city here and needed work.”
Erick relaxed a little, but something still wasn’t right. Erick felt the urge to flee, but because Elizabeth was oblivious to any possible danger there was nothing Erick could do without drawing unnecessary attention.
The Colonel led the two to his office where, as he had promised, there was quite a spread laid out. The Colonel said that he hated to be impolite but he had to leave for a few minutes; one of the children had broken his leg and he had to go call the parents.
Erick quickly rediscovered his hunger. In the next five minutes he inhaled every scrap and shred of food laid out, even the pineapple rinds which Elizabeth hadn’t thought were edible. Elizabeth was amazed and more than a little disgusted, how could he eat like such a pig? Once he felt certain there was no remaining food Erick admitted he hadn’t eaten in four days and Elizabeth’s planned reprimand died on her tongue. Even after all of that, Erick was still quite hungry, and he grumbled about it as the two of them sat waiting minute after agonizing minute. Eventually the Colonel’s butler came into the office, informed them that the Colonel would be a few more minutes, and asked if there was anything more the two would like. Erick asked for more food but the butler regretfully informed him that the kitchen was now closed. The butler left and Erick began to get restless, something was wrong; he could feel it, that sickening sensation of panicked fear he had learned to live with, growing in his heart.
Just as Erick got up to leave the butler returned with another giant platter of food. Erick didn’t notice that the man seemed rather flustered, as all Erick’s attention was now focused on shoveling food into his mouth. Finally, after about twenty-five minutes the Colonel returned.
“How are the two of you doing?” the Colonel asked as he sat down behind his desk. “Elizabeth, what’s your brother’s name?” By now, Erick’s fear threatened to choke him. He was dead certain that he shouldn’t have trusted this colonel, but he also felt that it was too late to do anything about it now. Elizabeth was still blissfully ignorant of the danger and her brother’s worry. Finally, after a few minutes of awkward, forced chatter, the Colonel stood up.
“Elizabeth, how would you like to move out of that crummy inn? The military has graciously offered the two of you your own house. It’s a nice house, too; in fact, it’s so nice that I think you should be required to see it before you turn the offer down.”
Elizabeth finally realized something was amiss as the door to the office opened revealing soldiers—many, many fully armed, fully armored, honest-to-God soldiers. Their expressions were hard and professional, the faces of men who had the power to kill and knew it. “Sir and Miss, we’ll need you to come with us.”