Renegade


By Steven Wilson


Prologue

The year is 2045, and the city of Seattle, Washington has become the home of scientific progress and evolution. Among the scores of scientists and engineers that make this city great are Maria and Mark Chavez; heads of a research lab in the center of Seattle. Specializing in weapons and wonder drugs, Maria and Mark have made more than enough money to put away for their son, Juan Carlos, JC for short, he is ten years old and one of the most intelligent and capable children of the decade. Every Tuesday, he goes with his parents to the research lab to watch their tests and studies to learn his parents’ trade. However, not everything in the world is as great as Seattle. Recently a new Regime in Europe has risen; Digrenge spearheaded by Greek General turned Despot, Cornelius Xavier.

 The Dictator has recently as of the past 6 years, conquered all things to the east with little resistance holding control of most of Asia and Oceania. The most recent attack was on Kyoto, Japan, it would seem the United States' West Coast would be next in this rising tide of the countries' warpath. With war so close to their backyard, the United States has posted troops all along the coast and has put time into experimental weapons projects. Human flight suits, magnetic based weaponry, Artificial Intelligence, anything that could save the country from losing their way of life was being built and stockpiled but never really tested. Rumors were whispered of Maria and Mark Chavez building a super weapon in their research lab in Seattle, no one knew for sure whether they were scrutinized geniuses or genuine mad scientists trying to make this century’s wunderwaffe.


 

 

Lab Misfire

 

JC woke up as he always had; tired and lazy, he laid there in his bed not asleep. Awake but too tired to get out of bed he remembered, today’s test day was today and ran around his room like a madman getting dressed, and in the end; he didn’t look too special. His blonde hair was messy and unkempt because he didn’t do his hair in the morning, he just patted it down and tried to fix it without looking. He grabbed his backpack and ran downstairs to the kitchen where he was greeted by his mother; she sat at the table working on some papers while waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. "Good morning JC." She greeted him warmly; her blonde hair was in a tight bun, so she could do her calculations unhindered; she was already dressed in her usual work clothes, blue T-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and a white lab coat.

 JC smiled and walked around the kitchen searching for food. "Morning Mom, what's for breakfast?"

"Nothing here kiddo; we’re going to the lab for food." His mom replied not looking up; focused on her work, she didn’t notice JC put a box of cereal in his bag; JC walked over to his seat at the table and sat down. "So Mom, what are you guys testing today?" he asked smiling and chuckling to himself. Mrs. Chavez looked up at her son smiling, "Something, something that could save the country and make Digrengis shake in their boots." JC looked at his mother as she gathered up her papers and stuffed them into her purse. "Come on hun, we’re going to be late, your father is waiting." He happily ran outside and into the nearby streetcar with his mother trailing behind him.


 

JC looked out the window of the streetcar admiring the sights of the city he grew up in, seeing his parent’s postman Chuck who he always waved to, walk by. Seeing Mr. Gilmore struggle to get his paper, granted he had no physical handicap to speak of, groaning and screaming about something about him not being able to feel his big toes. As the trolley entered the downtown portion, his favorite portion of the city, he squealed in merriment at seeing the new equipment and modifications being made to the buildings; the Space Needle was his favorite sight in the entire city. As the trolley halted to a stop, the conductor hollered "Hammer labs!" JC's mother took his hand and walked him off the trolley and into the lab. "Hello, Mrs. Chavez, and hi JC." the secretary said smiling at him. "Hi Steph, has Mark showed up yet?" Steph handed Maria her notes and her thermos. "Yes, he got here early; he wanted to get done before you got JC here."

Maria looked at Steph surprised, not sure how to feel about her work being finished. She walked over to the observatory window in the office and came back to the desk. "Alright, I'm going in; wish me luck." Steph gave Maria the usual security check and JC a lollipop. "Bye JC, have fun!" Steph yelled as they walked away. Steph was his favorite person in the building, other than his parents she always gave him candy, and JC thought she looked pretty, her brunette hair tied in a ponytail and always wearing the same clothes whenever he saw her, a simple black pants suit. As JC and his mother reached the long hall to the lab, he tinged with excitement; the hall was stark white with black marble flooring, "JC, slow down." His mother scolded.


 

 

Just as she did, he let go of her hand and ran to the door and into the lab. What he saw was amazing in his eyes; scientists working out complex algorithms that he saw as no trouble. Weapon designs that would have made Hitler Jealous. At the end of the room he saw a metal man, jet black with wires hanging out of it in various colors. "Son, meet VERONICA." JC turned around and saw a relatively tall man, short combed hair, wearing a white suit with a chart in hand. "Dad!" He ran to his father and jumped into his arms.

"Hi son, where's your mother?" They looked back at the doors and saw her jogging up. "Sorry hun, he kinda got away from me." Mark looked at Maria and smiled. "Oh well, he isn't hurt, so it's ok; come on son, it's time to test VERONICA." Mark clapped his hands and as he did, he, his father, and mother felt the floor shift, and they were lowered down into a bunker test field; however, many miles away from the city. All JC could see was grass and dirt and woodland in the middle of the clearing stood a man. He looked like he should be in the army, athletic body and a crew cut with brown eyes and hair. He wore a plain shirt and jeans and wore a necklace that resembled a black dog tag. Mark put his fingers on the Bluetooth in his ear.

"Alright, fire her up Roscoe." He looked down at his necklace and held it between his fingers, and as soon as he did so, the necklace suddenly became more circular and expanded around his body, covering him in the black the dog tag was colored. His chest turned gray and the center where the pendant was and glowed red. As soon as it did, the head almost seemed to shutter for a second and then a red glow appeared in the shape of a V, where his eyes should have been. Mark laughed in excitement just as JC did on the streetcar. "Amazing, Roscoe, the startup was a success." Mark said almost shouting. Roscoe moved unhindered walking father out into the clearing "Should we test the weapons yet?" Roscoe asked, his voice was deep and gruff.

"No, flying first then explosions." Mark answered jokingly. Roscoe looked down at his feet almost curious. He clicked his heels, and JC laughed to himself thinking how stupid that would be for a startup mechanism. "Roscoe, you need a running start. Build up a good sprint, and then jump." Mark said into the Bluetooth. Roscoe looked around at the trees around him and then at the bunker. "Mark, I'll have to run right at you guys." Roscoe said worriedly. "Oh? Well, this will be entertaining." Mark said unimpressed. Maria grabbed him by the soldier "Mark, what about JC?" He looked at JC then back at Roscoe. "Ross, start running." Mark said ambitiously. Roscoe broke into a run and suddenly the suit started to take over running as the movement became more mechanical. "Just make the motion for a jump and it should work Ross." he instructed Roscoe. Roscoe became a black blur running right at JC and his parents; he could tell he was he was getting close as the ground started to tremble from how fast he was coming in.

"Ross, jump!" Mark shouted, and as soon as he did, Roscoe jumped into the air. Suddenly, at the bottom of his boots, thrusters shot out and ignited leaving a trail of fire and laughter on JC's part watching Roscoe's arms flail wildly in shock that he hadn't flattened two scientists and a child. "It's like walking; Ross, put a foot out in front of you; the thrusters will do the rest." Mark spoke shocked and calm. Roscoe did just that, and he stabilized in the air; completely shocked and astounded, Roscoe started to fly around like a pro. Loops and stalls in a flying suit no less! "Alright Ross, the moment you have been waiting for, test the living spear." Mark smiled and lifted JC onto his shoulders. Roscoe looked straight down and held out his hand; in doing so, a black metal pole materialized in his hand and started to grow an ax blade and two blades opposite of the ax. JC recognized the weapon right away as a Halberd from his studies of medieval weaponry.


 

Roscoe started to gain elevation flying beyond the clouds, JC thought what would happen next. Could he throw it like a spear? He didn’t see the point in doing so, it looked like a normal halberd as normal as a seemingly black living metal could be. Suddenly, he heard it like a bomb going off a boom above him roared through the air as he saw a black streak hurtle towards the earth, it was Roscoe. "Nice job Ross; you’ve broken the sound barrier!" Mark shouted gleefully. Roscoe was approaching the impact zone about twenty miles away from JC and his parent’s but with the auto-zoom on the bunker’s maxi glass windows; they got a clear image of him. He looked like was diving into a pool from how he was positioned, he held onto his weapon at the end of its staff letting it go five feet ahead of himself.

Just as JC blinked it happened, he could hear the impact and felt the ground shake, trees were sent flying rocks and other natural elements were sent with the trees. It took approximately five minutes for debris to stop falling, and by then, Roscoe still hadn't picked up or come back to the test site. Mark was getting worried constantly radioing to Roscoe, but he never responded. "Roscoe can you hear me? Come on man don’t be dead!" Mark put JC on the ground and ran outside of the bunker and towards the crater. He felt his mother come up behind him and grab him by the shoulders "You can't go with him hun, it’s too dangerous." Maria stated calmly. He wanted to run after his dad to make sure him and his new role model were ok, he sat on the floor of the bunker and waited. Just as he sat down he heard a sudden yell, "Whoo-Hoo!" He ran outside to see what it was "JC, no!" he was laughing from what he saw, it was Roscoe and his dad!

Roscoe was missing his helmet and his dad was in Roscoe's arms. "UHH, THANKS ROSS!" Mark shouted partially deft. "You’re welcome Professor." Roscoe said grinning and proud. "OK, LET'S TEST THE REMOVAL FEATURES." Mark shouted. "ROSS, TOUCH THE PENDANT AGAIN." Roscoe did just that and within a millisecond, the suit was gone. Maria came running up behind JC. "Juan-Carlos Chavez, you need to learn how to start listening." his mother scolded.

"IT'S OK HONEY, HE WAS JUST CURIOUS." Maria looked at Mark confused. "Why are you yelling?" Maria asked waiting for his reason. "I'M YELLING?" Mark shouted confused. "Yes, Dad, you are yelling could you please stop?" JC asked politely. Mark thought for a second before talking again. "Ok, how’s this?" Mark asked in an almost whisper. "Hm, not much better but oh well." Maria said sarcastically. "So, JC, was this test a pass or fail?" Mark whispered, looking down at his son.

He thought about it, the flying, just one of the suits weapons was as strong as a surface to air missile, who knows what else it could do. "Well, Dad, I think it passes perfectly." He said letting his imagination run wild with possibilities. "Alright you three back in the bunker, Ross, I'll take the necklace." Maria held out her hand and Roscoe gave her the necklace without a fight. The team of four walked back into the bunker and was transmitted back into the lab. Their fellow scientists were waiting at the let off point with baited breath. Mark stepped forward proudly with Ross in toe.

"The test was a success!" Mark shouted. The crowd cheered and cried happily, they had finally done it they had made the ultimate battle wear. Maria came to her husband's side. "Prepare it for transit to storage if anyone asks, the suit doesn’t exist." Maria shouted. The team reacted immediately taking copies of the weapon and placing them all in crates and sending them one after another through a large blue warp gate in the back of the building. Once all the crates had shipped the gate was sealed and then, there was a celebration. The wine bottles came out and so did the glasses. Three bottles of apple juice were brought in toe especially for JC. Mark stood up on a chair off balanced he tapped his wine glass with his wedding ring.

 "Ladies and gentlemen, a strong kudos is in order for our team. We have just made the greatest weapon the world will ever see and take the country of Digrenge to its grave! This is a time for celebration, stay and drink as long as you want, Cheers!" A sudden cling of glasses could be heard and JC held up his glass of juice with them. But as he did so there was no cling, just a large boom from in the entryway of the office. No one noticed, JC went to his mother and tugged on her lab coat. "Uh mom? I think something is up." Maria patted his head and smiled "Oh sweetie, everything is fine. Just go play." he looked around the room for the room security controls fearing the worst.

 JC made his way to the main terminal and brought up haphazardly the security controls. "Please state security protocol and password." the computer stated plainly. "Protocol Sentinel, Password Protect." JC whispered into the panel. Just as soon as he finished the input, he looked out the window; he saw a group of men. Black clothes with guns in their hands but, these weren't normal guns. They looked like lasers-guns but more menacing, the men saw JC and ran to the window and as soon as they did so, the white room went red, the doors sealed and the windows were made clear with maxiglass. Everyone looked around until they saw JC at the control panel.

Everyone laughed and continued on except for Mark who ran up to his son. "JC, what are you doing!?" Mark shouted angrily. "Dad, look out the window!" JC cried, almost panicking.  "Son, there is no one-" Mark stopped mid thought once his eyes reached the window. Mark's eyes widened and hurled himself over the control panel. "Everyone, listen! Digrengi soldiers are here! Just remain calm." Mark stated sharply into the microphone. As soon as he did so, the door to the lab exploded open. The explosion knocked Mark to the floor and JC unconscious. When he came to he was horrified.

The lights were normal again but everyone was on the floor in a line. JC was last in line next to his parents. The biggest man walked out of the group of men and removed his mask. He had a crewcut like Roscoe, tanned skin and an above average muscular body; he made bodybuilders look like jokes. "Alright listen up, we know that you have the weapon." His voice had a deep unidentifiable accent "If you tell us where the weapon is, you all will live, however should you not comply you will end up like this poor woman." The man snapped his fingers and two of the men carried in a woman, it was Steph.

Steph looked horrible; she was badly beaten and was bleeding from her chin as if they had cut her. The behemoth of a man walked over to Steph who started breathing heavily from fear as he came closer. He smiled and looked to the others. "So, let's test what's going to happen if you don’t comply." He boomed pulling out a revolver from his side holster. "So sweetheart, where is the weapon?" The man said asking smiling. Steph looked at him tears in her eyes almost pleading. "I told you! I don't know!" Steph screamed at the top of her lungs. The man pulled back the hammer and chuckled putting the gun to her head. "Sorry hon, Wrong answer." Steph burst into tears thrashing wildly. “No,no! Go to he-" There was a sudden bang, and Steph slumped over, a river of blood ran from her head into a pool around her.

"Boys, start knocking off those who feign ignorance." The man ordered. Simultaneously, the five armed men all sounded off "Yes, General." And went off to different scientists. Within minutes and almost pristine timing five shots rang out simultaneously, Mark and Maria looked at their son paralyzed with fear, one of the gunmen had appeared in front of Maria. "Hey, you." Maria stared at her son almost frozen in time not wanting to take her eyes off of him, not wanting to look at the man who could end her life. "Just take your damn shot, you can take my life but I want my son to be the last thing I ever see." Maria said tearing up. He put the gun to her chest. "Alright, say bye-bye shorty." The shooter taunted looking at JC. He looked at his mother in tears, he didn’t want to lose his mother but he had a plan, inside his pocket was a mini laser knife not too big but good enough to cut through the ropes he thought to himself.


 

 

Time had almost completely froze while he struggled for the knife, almost as if it was lifted to his hand he grabbed it and started cutting at the ropes. The process was extremely slow and painful but the ropes were cut and JC was free he kept his hands as they were tied to make sure no one suspected anything and at the very moment the gunman pulled the trigger there was a movement of black at the bottom of the man's vision and he felt a throbbing pain in his leg, JC stabbed him in the leg. "Ah, you little brat, you're done for!" The gunman yelped. JC ran as fast as he could from the situation and hid in a room that he had never been in before.

In the distance he heard the big guy scream "Find him, and kill him, no witnesses!" JC's heart went into overdrive as did his brain looking for a solution; he could run, but what about his parents? He could fight, but that wouldn’t do much good. The room was dark quite a change up from the usual stark whiteness of the rest of the lab. There was the glow of a computer in the corner of the room which took away from the darkness and gave shape to a lab table in the center of the room. JC walked into the glow and towards the table there were two handles, bound in cord he couldn’t see what the handles were attached to.

Curious and desperate for something to defend himself with he grabbed them and put them in computer's white light. In his hands JC realized he held two swords, both were almost a two feet long and only one side on both swords were sharpened. They completely different colors; one was silver and red the other was stark black, clearly not a matched set. JC heard footsteps coming and immediately ducked under the table. A man limbered into the room "Come out kid we saw you come this way, make it easy on yourself and die." JC knew right away he would have to fight him and finish the job he started, he sat up kneeling under the table with his body placed so his body was facing the  door and waited, he could hear the man extremely well.

He had a limp, wore heavy combat boots and breathed heavily; JC could tell this guy was the teams weak link. JC tapped his foot getting his attention fully he ran to the table and looked under to make sure he was there and was surprised. "Peek-a-boo!" the man said tauntingly thinking it was his intelligence that made his location known. JC acted instantly, closing his eyes, he jabbed forward with his newly found blades. There was a sound of metal piercing flesh and a scream, JC didn’t want to open his eyes for fear of where he stabbed him, he began to rationalize thinking to himself "Ok, I just blindly stabbed a guy, maybe it was his chest or leg again or his shoulder, it won't be that scary!" Right as soon as he opened his eyes he remembered, he only stuck his head under the table.

Too late to stop himself, JC opened his eyes and to his horror, he saw his first kill. The swords hit him directly in the face, one dead center and the other right through his mouth! JC crawled away like a crab to the other side of the room too scared to reclaim his weapons and curled up into a ball. He couldn’t believe that just happened starting to tear up from fear JC remembered that he had to save his parents, but how? Five armed men, fully grown and bloodthirsty; he looked to the computer and got a brilliant idea. Crawling over to the computer JC pulled himself onto the control panel and brought up the prompts to the labs security his voice was shaky but very firm.

"System act 626, password: Ragnarok." The computer turned off and the red lights from down the hall went off, everything was black as night. JC reached next to him remembering there was a pair of sunglasses on the counter. As soon as he placed them on his face he saw in the dark "Night vision sunglasses, thanks Dad!" He thought to himself. Feeling cool JC took a running start and slid under the table grabbed his blades and slid out knocking the body to the floor. "Did that really work?" He said out loud. Not taking the time to think the rest of that thought out; JC ran back to the main lab, upon arrival there were five flashlights shining through the darkness and crying could be heard that sounded like his mother's, she was still alive.

Determined to win, JC crept around the various shelves and tables until he knew no one could see him. He waited for the first man to walk by, JC was nervous and shaking. "Come on, don’t be such a baby!" He thought to himself. JC waited until he was past the table and then crept out from under the table and stalked his victim until he stabbed him in the open. He pulled his swords out and quietly as possible ran back to the table, ready to repeat the pattern.

JC made quick work of the men until there was only one left, the big guy. JC snuck up behind him as quietly as he could and slashed the back of his throat. Maria and Mark both shot up in astoundment and excitement thrilled to see their child. "JC, honey thank God you’re ok!" Maria squealed joyously. Mark ran over to his son and turn around. "Cut me loose." Mark said excitedly. Mark took one of JC's swords and started freeing the others. "Come on guys let's get out of here." Mark shouted gesturing to the emergency exit.

There were only two other scientists left apart from Mark and Maria, Craig and Joyce. As the group was walking out Joyce fell to the group shocked everyone turned around to see the big man wasn’t dead, he was on his knees and had a smoking gun in his hand. "I ain't going down that easy." The man scoffed. Mark took his son's hand and ran as Maria trailed behind as Craig ate the next shot. As the group was running out Maria screamed "Self-destruct sequences will go off in thirty seconds Mark, run faster!"

 

 A sudden boom could be heard deep in the building as soon as the family made it to the door the building erupted in an explosion like something from a cheesy action movie JC and Mark flew into the air as Maria fell to the ground up leaving. Father and Son ran over to her to find that there was a bloody hole in her spine, turning her back red. "I-is it bad?" Maria asked gasping for air. "Mom p-please don't go." JC pleaded almost in tears. Mark held his wife in his arms "Don't worry honey I'll keep Juan safe." Maria smiled. "You better, I'll be watching." Her voice started to trail off and she stopped breathing. JC hugged his mother refusing to let go. "It couldn’t have happened, it just couldn't! Mom is just sleeping that’s all." Mark looked down at his son and pulled him off of who was his mother. "Into the alley, come on son."

2045, all of Eurasia is under the thumb of the nation of Digrenge- and the United States is next.  Two scientists and their son must fight for survival as they are attacked and held hostage while the rest of Seattle is burned to the ground. Will they survive?