Garth was deeply nervous. He tugged at his collar anxiously as he waited for the rest of his men to come. He had requested that try again now that he had more experience. He felt bad that he was so terrible in the field. He had to at least succeed once. He sighed with relief as he saw he men approach. For a moment, he thought that they wouldn’t come since what happened last time. But obviously, he had just been thinking too much.
“Are we ready?” He asked, strengthening his voice this time. He sounded more legitimate and hope rose inside of him. The men all nodded without a sound. Garth took a deep breath and headed off, gesturing them to follow along.
They walked through the exit and began setting off again. This time, they were not to attack the freelancers. Since they had already done it once, the freelancers would have their guards up for a second time. They shouldn’t attack again, not for a while. So this time, Garth was sent to settle a score with a bunch of slummers.
The moment they stepped out of the headquarters, they were transported to the entrance of the domes. Since the wave of panic from the rising amount of slumming, rules in the slums had gotten much more intense. Rules were now much more strict. There was curfew. People weren’t just allowed to walked around whenever they wanted to. The forest was set off limits just in case the slummers got ambitious and tried to attack the forest. That was an issue most people would rather not face. Most time was now spent at home. Many domes were shut down, the ones most commonly slummed were no longer active and there was an air of fear in the air.
Garth sighed. Something was brewing and he could feel it. He didn’t like the feeling and the fact that he might have to face it. That he was the one to deal with all the trouble. He knew that there was no way he would be able to handle this by himself. He needed a friend. Someone that was smart. Someone like Jordan.
Garth shooked his head. If only Jordan had the same feelings for him. Garth felt a pang of sadness. Years apart had completely gotten rid of their mutual hatred. Now it was just simply two people who were both racing for a spot. Garth held it and he was vulnerable. Their personal relationship was gone now, not that it was ever a good relationship to begin with.
They stopped at a dim dome.
“Here.” He said, stopping by the door to open it with the key that Boss had gave him personally. It was a key to all of the domes and there was only one of these. So no matter what, he couldn’t lose this key. Or else, he’d be done. No matter how forgiving Boss had been, he would not get around from losing this key. So Garth held onto this key tightly.
The door creaked open slowly, greatly unlike the smooth movements of any other dome, giving it a dark creepy air. Garth held his breath, disliking the look of this even more than going down the slums. In a way, defeating the freelancers was harder because it required more strategy. If you tried to take down the freelancers with brute force, well there were plenty of examples where that went terribly wrong. But this, this was just brute strength. These men were organized in an way other than that they knew who were their own men and who weren’t. There wasn’t much more other than that.
Ironically though, this one was much more difficult for Garth. Not for his men of course, but for Garth, this was the biggest test of all and he was a little regretful for being too eager to redeem himself, but it was too late for anything like anymore.
The door creaked closed behind them as they stepped into the dim place. It was just as dark as the slums and maybe even darker, because there was almost no light in the place except for a few single rays of sunlight that struggled to shine through the glass of the dome.
Smoke was everywhere. The domes had obviously just been slummed. Reports said that the men had tried to break out of the domes, but essentially failed to do so, leaving the door in such a state, but they were still here. No one was quite sure why they were so persistent but many squads were sent here before them to get rid of them and they would still not leave. There were only a couple of them left in the place and Garth’s job was to exterminate the rest of them.
There was one glaring question that still rang through his mind even though he hadn’t had the guts to ask.
How do you know when none of them are left?
But now was it was just as late to ask anyone. He could have asked his men, but he already looked like an idiot in front of them, he didn’t want to looked even more stupid than he had already been.
“Alright. Shoot and kill.” He said, realizing that shoot and kill seemed a little redundant. “Just get rid of anyone without a red light, alright?”
They all nodded. Everyone had a red light on them. It was so that they wouldn’t shoot their own people, but then the lights also made them the perfect targets. In the end, it was more stupid than it was smart and none of the men ever wore their lights. But for the sake of the plan, they all agreed.
Of course what Garth didn’t know was that it was not for him.
They set out, spreading out into groups of three. They all had communication systems built in on their gear. A couple men followed Garth, including Varian. They were to protect him as they went through to find anyone from the slums.
The gravel crunched drily against the rubber soles of their shoes. They look around alert, brandishing their guns in the case of some emergency. The slummers had no guns, but seemed to have made some makeshift weapons. It seemed as though they had looted a couple of the domes’ men and now it was reported that they did have a couple of guns.
Garth struggled to see in the dim light, his heart pounding, his mind racing. His breath was heavy and sweat was breaking out throughout him. He already swore that no matter what, he would never ever come out on the field again. He was too much of a coward to deal with this anymore and yes, Garth wasn’t afraid to admit. He was a coward. What were you going to do?
They continued down the street. It was so quiet that Garth felt that something had to be wrong. Something... Just something.
Suddenly, there was a beep and Garth almost jumped out of his skin. His CS rang and he picked it up.
“Number 3 has pick off 3 targets. 15 left to find.” An automated voice attended. Garth nodded, awkwardly standing there for a moment, wondering if he was suppose to congratulate number 3, whoever that was for picking of 3 people. But he didn’t in the end, thinking that there really would be no point in making himself more stupid looking if it wasn’t a thing. If it was, well, he could pretend he didn’t hear it.
They continued moving forward, Garth still feeling rather nervous. He was calming already from the lack of action. If everyone could be like number 3, then they’d be done in a nifty.
But their good luck was not to last for long.
A few moments later, there was a loud boom, one so big that Garth could feel the ground beneath his feet rumble. He almost felled down. The next moment, his CS was beeping like crazy. He pressed the button.
“Bomb explosion in area E. Number 3, 4 and 7 taken down.”
Garth’s eyes bulged. A moment ago, he had been all proud of number 3 and then a bomb exploded.
“Where’s area E?” He asked, looked at Varian. Varian gave a quick swipe of his GPS and pointed to their left.
“Keep going straight in that direction and you’ll hit Area E dead center.”
Garth shivered. So that basically meant that if they had been a few streets farther down left, they would’ve been dead meat as well? And not only that, where did these slummers get the bomb from? Did they make their own, or was it looted as well? But not only that, if there was one bomb, then there had to be another. Garth had to be even more alert now.
If this were a game. He could only say that they were currently even with the slummers in score. But they were still losing by a little bit because, well because the slummers had 15 people while they only had 8. Now, it was down to 12 and 5. They were obviously at a major disadvantage.
They were still going forward when they all heard something.
Garth stop and froze. He whirled around to catch a glimpse of a man jumping away, throwing something back at him. Before he realized what it was, he was thrown backwards by Varian just as it exploded.
Dirt flew all over the place and Garth’s ears were ringing. It was a much smaller bomb and he only had minor cuts all over him from scatter glass that flew at him from the explosion, but it had hurt. He clambered up, thankful that Varian had helped him. He wanted to give Varian a hug, but he knew that he would look completely stupid if he had, so Garth held back his impulse.
Garth dusted himself off, wincing as pain shot up his leg. There was a bit of blood splattered on the ground and Garth knew that there was something wrong with this leg. He was about to take a step when there was a gunshot and Garth fell down again. He scrambled for his gun which was still lying on the ground and fired a shot at the direction of the shot. He looked around and realized that the rest of his group seemed to have disappeared and there was only him and Varian left.
“Where did they go?” He asked, firing another shot in that direction. There was a gasp and the sound of a body hitting the ground. Garth couldn’t help but feel a little excited. He had hit someone. He did it!
But before he could get too excited, he felt a bag fall over his head and then suddenly, a dark cold knife pressed against his throat. He could only gurgle as blood began spurting out of him.
Garth fell to the ground with a thump and the life flew out of him.
Varian, holding the knife stolen from a dead slummer, stared down at the body.
And henceforth was the end of Garth and all subject matter related to him.