After Christian disposed of Gabby's body, we contacted HQ.
"Yes, sir, it is pertinent to the mission," I said for the millionth time, "We need backup immediately. We have reason to believe that the North Koreans working at Jiyu have learned of our operations here in New York."
There was a pause. Then, "How did they discover our operation? We sent you to keep this war off American soil, and to keep our efforts under wraps."
"Well, things get complicated when you send troops to mingle with civilians, sir," I said, now thoroughly agitated.
"We're going to need some time to get a strike force together."
"Alright, listen: there are two things you can do right now: send troops and maybe have some hope of defeating the North Koreans, or surrender. Your call."
"Fine. I'll see what I can do."
"Good. Thank you, sir."
"Don't expect too many favors like this, Commander."
"Very good, sir. AU One out."
"Well?" Christian asked. "What'd they say?"
I sighed. "They're going to send troops, but I doubt there'll be very many of them. They basically told me not to expect a strike force."
“We don’t need their strike force anyway,” Christian said. “Besides, they’re probably all green.”
“Exactly,” I agreed. “We can do better on our own.”
We gathered a bunch of equipment from caches we’d stockpiled around town and loaded it into the back of the truck. As I hefted four chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) masks, I paused to hand one to each of the girls.
“Put these on,” I told them. “If there’s any hazardous fallout, they should protect you.”
Later, Christian and I drove into Times Square. Christian got out, fully equipped with everything he’d need to do his job, and I signaled to him that I would take the east side laboratories, and that he should proceed to the west side labs. I took off, and drove right up to the entrance of the east side lab building. There I sat, for about ten seconds. Then, in a stroke of madness, I floored it straight through the front doors and stopped the truck in the main foyer. I exited the vehicle and proceeded to the first lab. I’d planted C4 charges in three of the four labs, and had entered the fourth, when I saw a familiar figure.
It was Brianna Sanchez, an assassin I’d dealt with in Paris.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. “I thought you were in China, doing some work there.”
“I am the Head of security in this lab building,” she responded. “Jiyu has granted me troops to defend their weapon.” As if to prove the point, she produced a walkie-talkie and barked into it, “All units, breach in laboratory four. Please respond.”
Seconds later, I was surrounded by soldiers with M16s. I found it no great challenge to mow them down with my AR-57 light machine gun.
I turned back to Brianna and said, “C’mon, Brianna. Really? This is what you’ve got? This is pathetic. Give me a real challenge.”
Suddenly, she collapsed, unconscious. I heard the doors behind me hiss open and shut again, followed by heavy footsteps. Up the aisle to the inner lab walked a man dressed in a full hazmat suit, with a CBRN mask of his own covering his face. He had a small device in each hand: in his right, a remote. In his left, some sort of handheld device that appeared similar to a taser.
“Excellent job,” he said. “My name is Yun Bae. I am the director of the American branch of Jiyu.” He raised the device in his left hand, presenting it to me so I could see clearly that, on the outside, it was identical to a taser. “This is a device which utilizes the newly-invented technology of EDOM – Electronic Dissolution of Motivation. On contact with a subject, it erases all of their motivations and replaces them with false goals via an electric pulse which simulates a synapse of the brain – the very building block of thought.”
“Let me guess,” I said, “You used this device to brainwash Brianna here into working for you?”
He nodded. “Yes, American. However, she is not the only person under our influence. I believe you are familiar with a Ms. Sarah Redden?”
“My god, what did you do to Sarah?”
“We merely enlightened her as to what the Americans were really up to – and, in exchange for this enlightenment, she offered her services as a spy.”
“Oh, is that how it happened?”
“Not really. One wishes it was so easy. Now, I will have you, as well, soldier. You will be my loyal slave.”
“I’ll never serve Jiyu.”
“Who says you would be working for Jiyu? If you join me, we can overthrow Jiyu. We could stop them from releasing the virus. We could rule millions, just with the fear of what we can unleash upon them,” here, he paused for a few seconds, “and I would release your precious girls – both Ms. Redden and Ms. Sanchez.”
I aimed my AR-57 at his head. “All I’ve got to do is pull the trigger.”
“No, Mr. Petrov, all you’ve got to do is join me.”
He began approaching me, and for some reason, I found myself lowering my weapon. Then, he pressed a button, and the electrical circuit began buzzing to life in his hands. He held the device mere inches from my skin.
Then, I shot him. Twice, in the chest. I snatched the device from his grasp as he laid there, dying, and ran over to Brianna. I had no idea what I thought would happen – all I knew was that this device had made her turn, and maybe it could turn her back. I turned on the circuit and touched it to the back of her neck, hoping that was where it was supposed to go.
Suddenly, she groaned and opened her eyes sleepily. “Jon?” She asked. “Where the hell am I?”
“Well, good to see you, too,” I responded, “It’s kind of a long story. Listen, we’ve got to move. I’ve got to plant these charges,” I indicated the C4, “and then we’ve got to get away from here. Take one of the dead guys’ M16s.”
She picked up one of the assault rifles while I planted the charges, and then we ran to the foyer, where I got her into the truck and began driving out the way I came in – back through the doors. There were Allied troops surrounding the building.
“This is the United States Military,” a man shouted through a bullhorn, “Get out of the vehicle and put your hands in the air.” We did as we were told, and the troops quickly checked us out and sent us on our way.
On our way out of the area, I shouted, “You guys might want to back up a bit. It’s about to get very toasty around here.” I detonated the C4 charges shortly after that, and I drove until we reached Times Square again. There, we soon met up with Christian, who rode in the truck bed as our support gunner. We proceeded back into the combat zone, and from that point on, it was just as simple as riding around, shooting Koreans on occasion when they appeared.
Nothing too easy, then.