Previous: Chapter 2
UNCC soldiers were gathered around. Valcode Kellogg and Julian Sardec stood in the middle. Kellogg began to speak.
"Alright, men. Today, we begin our campaign. To my side is our volunteer, Julian Sardec. He has agreed to enter The Archive and retrieve whatever intel he can possibly get, so we may at last learn the secrets of our oppressors. As you know, this is an underground network we have constructed, and have gained access to the city power grid undetected. Nikida will disable cause a power surge connected to The Archive. This will disorient the security guards there, allowing for Julian here to enter among their ranks. Once he is in, he will do the rest. For the rest of us, we will keep a close watch on the perimeter and will intervene only if an emergency arises."
He turned to Sardec. "Is that clear, Julian? Signal us if there is a situation that you know for certain you cannot handle on your own. An intervention may cost us the mission, but also holds a slim chance of survival. Please do not let that possibility arise."
"Good. Now, since you cannot use the R.O.M.E armor anymore, I have provided you with basic alien security armor. It's not very well-protected, but it's light as helium, which will give way for a quick escape."
Kellogg turned to the rest of the soldiers. "Suit up, everyone. The fight for freedom has arrived!"
Sardec was directed to the armory. He held the Helium helmet in his hands, studying it closely. He didn't notice the woman approaching from his side.
Sardec jumped. "Oh, sorry. What?"
"You're the fresh meat. I'm Nikida. Just so you know, no living human has ever entered The Archive. None of us knows what is in there. How will you know where to go and what to get?"
"I have no idea. I'm hoping that whatever I'm looking for, I'll know it when I see it."
"Our hope for humanity, huh? Just great." Nikida rolled her eyes.
"In order to discover, one must fly blind for a small time."
"Whatever you say. I hope you're good with a gun. Not that you'll need it, supposedly."
Sardec took a glance at the white shotgun and assault rifle. "'UNCC-020 Dynamic; UNCC-010 Precursors. Wouldn't they notice human-made weapons?"
"They're modded. They're made from their tech, but modded to work for human users. Pfff, rookies."
Sardec ignored her mild taunts and suited up his equipment. "I'm ready for whatever is thrown at me." He said as he cocked the Dynamic.
The Archive was in sight. It was gray and oddly-shaped, like a rhombus rectangle. Yellow lights shone from the entrances at the floor level, with white-red Neon guards keeping watch. The UNCC battalion observed the large building from a distant cliffside.
"Nikida, we are in position." Kellogg spoke from his brown bulky Argon armor. "Cut the power."
Within a few seconds, the lights of The Archive died.
"Alright Juilian. Go, go, GO!"
Sardec was much closer to the building, hidden by nearby bushes, He nodded his head and ran for the building. As he got closer, he could hear the rambling of the Possessed Neon guards. As he got closer, he slowed down his foot step rhythm and began to walk casually. A guard's emergency lights activated and noticed Sardec.
Sardec had no idea what the alien had said. He was frozen, trying to think of a fake response.
The guard spoke in english. "Raaarghk. You're an interior guard. Get inside now! Your armor isn't suited for exterior duties." The Neon guard pointed at one of the entrances.
Kellogg watched Sardec enter The Archive through his tactical binoculars. "Sunnvabitch did it. He's in! Nikida! Get the power back on. They can't get suspicious for too long."
As Sardec entered, the lights came back on, revealing the long labyrinth within. Twists and turns in every direction. He pondered where to start.
"Eeny meeny miny mo." He muttered to himself. He proceeded to walk to the left hallway.
The disorientation reminded him of his journey through the underground city tunnels, only he was grateful to have light to guide him. He walked for several minutes, only to find unneeded dead ends. It was all so strange to him. Their architecture resembled human origin, which made it more confusing for him. After two more minutes of going in circles, Sardec found another Helium guard in front of a sector. The guard waved his arm, directing him elsewhere. Sardec hadn't come across any other sectors that had a stationary guard. All others he found were wandering like him. It seemed suspicious to him.
"Calling for help now would be suicide. I need to figure out a distraction myself." Sardec cringed as he thought of an idea. "This is going to get me killed, but it's all I got."
Sardec traveled quite a distance from the other guards. He aimed the Precursors at the ceiling and fired in bursts for several seconds. The sounds alerted the other interior guards and foot steps could be heard coming closer. Sardec ran closer to the oncoming guards and hid himself in one of the many storage rooms, waiting for the reinforcements to reach his original location. He listened for them to speak among each other confused, exited the room, and quietly hurried to the stationary guard's post. The stationary guard was gone, allowing access to the sector.
The sector was quiet. It seemed to house no other guards. It was set for Sardec to nose around. Twelve doors were at his disposal.
"Surely their darkest secrets lay here", he thought.
As Sardec searched the many rooms, he found mostly documents written in what appeared to be gibberish. Then he noticed something consistent written on a computer terminal--several mentions of the names Hellus, Earth, and UBP116. Feelings of shock overtook him. "There are teleporters to these places. This is it. What I'm looking for! Now to extract these documents."
He reached into his UNCC-ADV backpack and pulled out a small computer tablet. He held the tablet near the Sanctum computer terminal. The files began to transfer wirelessly.
"Okay, time to pack up." He placed the tablet back into his backpack, organized the room back to its untouched state, and exited the Inner Sanctum.
Coming out, Sardec noticed the guard had returned to its post, only it was the body. He took a closer look at the lifeless carcass. Suddenly, something landed on his head. The guard's parasite began to chew through his helmet. Sardec flailed his body, screaming. He removed the Helium helmet, casted it to the floor, and fired at the parasite with the Dynamic, killing it.
He then heard chatter among other guards. Before he knew it, he could hear them coming at his direction. Now with his helmet destroyed, Sardec could not call for help. He took cover and readied for combat, The guards arrived, noticing the deceased parasite. While they were distracted, Sardec took the first shot, blowing a hole in one of the guard's chest. They fired back, blowing chunks off of his cover point. He switched to his Precursors, popped out from cover, and fired at their heads, killing three of them. As he surveyed the room, he saw one of the guards retreating. It was too late for him to stop it. Reinforcements were requested.
Outside, The Neon guards rushed into The Archive.
"Something isn't right." Kellogg said. "He's in trouble. Storm the front!"
UNCC soldiers charged down the cliff, toward The Archive. Kellogg readied his Gemini-32 and fired at the outside.
Inside, as Sardec was about to be overwhelmed, the Neon guards took note of the explosion outside. Soon, The Archive was filled with advancing UNCC soldiers. The guards fired their AUNC-1 Dusk assault rifles and FIW HolyStinger shotguns back, no longer facing Sardec. Sardec ran to a cover point, waiting for an opening to escape. The firefight was destroying the walls of the building, both man and Kartinava units were falling in battle. Soon enough, Sardec saw an opening to escape. He readied his shotgun and ran for the exit, blasting at any Neon and Helium guards in his way. As he got closer to the exit, Kellogg stood with his rocket launcher.
"Get out of here! We'll finish this up!"
The Archive was now in the distance behind Sardec, with the sounds of the gunfire lowering in volume.
Ready for Operation
Now at the UNCC base, Sardec sat in the armory with his face in one hand.
"Nice going, rookie" Nikida said as she passed by. "You cost the lives of 7 people."
"Don't worry about her", said Kellogg. "We suffered casualties, but you got the job done. Those documents are being deciphered as we speak."
"It's not that", Julian said in reply. "Before the firefight broke loose, one of those slimy bastards almost got me. It almost turned me into one of them. I can't afford to have that sort of incident occur to me. I refuse to join their ranks."
Kellogg nodded his head. "I told you the Helium armor wouldn't protect you very well."
"I know, Valcode. I want to ensure they can never get me."
Kellogg raised his eyebrow.
"I think... I think I'll take up that offer. Alter my body to prevent possession."
Julian was laid on the metal table. A male surgeon approached him.
"To run it simply to you, we are going to alter parts of your skull with special mithril-powered metal. With this material, the Kartinava cannot burrow into your head and possess your brain. But to do this, we will have to make alterations to other parts of your body to run compatible with the powered metal. You will be part machine from now on. Are you ready for that?"
"Do whatever it takes. I willingly run the risk of never smelling or tasting again. Put me under, doc."
"Well well then. Insert the anesthesia into Patient 003."
Those were the last words Sardec heard before his senses were covered in darkness.
Sardec opened his eyes and saw nothing but blur. Soon his vision had focused, noticing the words "HEALTH: 100%" at the top of his vision. He turned his head upward, seeing the words still in the fixed area of his eyesight. The room was now empty. Kellogg opened the door, with his vitals appearing in Sardec's vision.
"I see the operation was a success. They left you alone to recuperate. How do you feel?"
"Fine, I think. I can see your name floating above your head. Your heart rate seems a bit higher than usual."
"Well, I was a bit nervous about the outcome. But I am ecstatic that you are okay."
"Did they finish deciphering the documents?"
"Yes. We know exactly how to win this war now. All thanks to you. Right this way, PT003."
Kellogg escorted the new Julian out of the room, now ready to take the campaign to the next level.