“...Nnnnnuuhhhh...” I groaned as I came to, painfully. My mind was fuzzy, and my vision blurry as I awoke in a strange room. I was sitting in a chair, and my arms and legs had been cuffed to it. Oh god... am I... starring in a naughty adult movie? Please no, anything but that!
“Where am I...?” I slurred as I spoke. My memory was slowly coming back to me. I was walking to school with Quin when a van pulled up, two men put a bag over my head, and stuck me with a needle. That's the last thing I remember until now.
The room I was in had no windows, and was made completely of concrete. There was a single light-bulb hanging down from the ceiling, illuminating myself, and an empty chair opposite me. I gave the cuffs binding me a tug, but there was no way I was getting out of this with brute force.
The only door to the room slowly opened, and in through it walked a woman in an Army uniform. She was very young looking, with hazel colored hair, and a foreboding look in her eyes. She took very controlled steps as she marched to the chair opposite me, and took a seat. Her hands rested neatly in her lap, her heels together and back against the legs of the chair. She had absolute discipline in her movement. If I was going to get out of this one, I needed to break down her character. I need her off balance...
Honestly, now that I've seen her, if this is an adult film I guess it's not the WORST thing that could happen to me...
“I'm sure you have questions,” She said. She paused, implying I could ask away.
“You're not one of those boys who look like girls, are you?” I asked with a raised brow.
“I'm not sure how that applies here...” She said, complete and utter disgust was written on her face.
“I'm just making sure I don't end up on a homoerotic fetish website,” I explained.
“That's extremely unprofessional and offensive,” She retorted.
“Are you offended?!” I said accusingly. “Did I hit a nerve?”
“I'm straight, and not personally offended,” she said with an upturned chin.
“Oh come on now, sweetheart. Spaghetti is straight until you heat it up a little,” I goaded.
“I don’t think that’s how it works-...” She was clearly lost for words. I would be too. I don't know how I thought that little gem up but it was gold. Her face turned red as the thought flustered her. Even now she couldn't help but think about the scenario I had created.
“You look cute when you lose your composure,” I said. Which only served to fluster her even further as she tried to deny it.
“I am merely... I just wasn't prepared for what kind of person you are,” She replied.
“It's okay,” I said. “I surprise myself too, sometimes... So, why am I here, exactly?”
She seemed to regain some of her control now, and she quickly tucked away a few loose strands of hair before saying,
“We've been watching you, Isaac,” She said in a very serious tone.
“...and?” I asked. I mean come on I've already heard this one.
“...And, um... you have been chosen to... I had what I was going to say planned out in my head but then you asked me if I was a boy and it caught me off guard because I had already thought of at least one hundred possible things you would say and “are you a boy” was not one of them and so now I'm just completely lost and-” She stopped and frantically inhaled. She nearly turned blue from lack of oxygen.
“Just let it out... it's ok. This is a safe place,” I said.
She held a hand up. “Please... just stop talking. They told me you were unpredictable, but I had no idea it would be like this...”
Whatever this was about, I can tell it's meant to be serious. If I just keep her on the defensive like this, I should be able to dodge being roped into whatever this is. “Well Sergeant-”I quickly read her name tag, “-Shizune. I think I have kept you here long enough. You're free to go.”
At first she stood up to leave, then realized what she was doing, turned red, and sat back down. “Firstly: I am the one keeping you here, and secondly: I am Second Lieutenant Shizune... I am not a Sergeant.”
“What's the difference?” I asked.
“Sergeants have experience in the field, and a good working relationship with the troops... I have... a college degree.” She replied.
“It sounds like a bad thing when you say it that way...” I said. “Is that why you're so proper all the time? Trying to set a higher standard?”
She nodded sadly, her lip slightly pouting.
“Hey, don't be sad... Here, I'll take you seriously. Come on. Start over from the beginning,” I said encouragingly.
She narrowed her eyes and looked at me suspiciously. She opened her mouth to speak, stopped, analyzed me suspiciously once more, and then spoke.
“The U.S. Army and Air Force have been jointly developing an exoskeleton war-system designed to enhance the capabilities of human beings in combat,” She explained. She stood up and began to pace around the room as she spoke.
“As it stands, the mechanical side of things has gone well, but when we implemented the neuron interface which would be it's primary control input, there were severe latency and synchronization mishaps leading to... complications with the pilots...” She continued.
“And so we began a study in attempts to find possible matches that would be best suited to pilot the exoskeletons-”
“-That's where I come in, then?” I asked.
“Precisely. Your brain patterns and body type make you an ideal candidate for trial runs with the exoskeleton and could help us to further develop the system. It comes in a time of great need. We stand on the brink of war with an unknown force, believed to originate from outer space. It could awaken at any moment,” She went on. She stopped behind me, and leaned over to un-cuff my hands and feet. As she did I felt her slightly pressed against me. It was now my turn to be a bit flustered. The uniform she wore definitely hid some of her more prominent features.
“However, It's your choice. You're free to go, if you're OK with turning your back on the world. Just know that-”
Her voice quickly faded as the door slammed shut behind me. The last thing I saw was a look of disbelief in her face as I bolted straight for the exit.
The building I was being held in was like any other. As the sliding glass doors in front of me opened, a young lady behind a desk told me to have a nice day. I gave her a sideways nod and stepped outside. I wasn't surprised to see that I wasn't far from school. I sighed and started walking.
“Hey, prick!” Came a voice from a few floors up. I looked up to see Lieutenant Shizune looking down angrily at me.”You forgot your bag.” She threw it out of the window towards me. It was a good toss, too.
It occurs to me that there were a few books in there, and one of which was physics. It was that very book that taught me about the force of gravity, and it was that same force that collided with my face, nearly knocking me unconscious.
She slammed the window shut and gave me the finger. I guess I had that coming. It's still better than whatever sci-fi I was about to be trapped in. I stuffed my books back into the bag, and slung it over my shoulder. Now to go deal with my harem...
“Isaac, glad to see you could make it today,” Miss Suzette said as I walked in. “We were starting to worry you had been kidnapped.”
Keep talking like that and I'm going to start thinking you had something to do with it. I shrugged awkwardly and took my seat. We were in the middle of second period. In half an hour we would be going to the gym and my lateness would be long forgotten.
I could feel Riley looking at me. Her gaze was locked on my nose as a hand extended to wipe the blood from it. I pressed my hand against her face and quickly wiped the blood away from my nose. When I pulled away she dramatically gasped for air and looked at me pitifully.
It was coming out of my NOSE, Riley. Don't be gross...
She puffed out her lip and crossed her arms.
I put my head on my desk and wondered where I went wrong. A few weeks ago I rejected a girl because she was a bit too cute. Now I'm sitting here having a telepathic conversation with a vampire...
~Tap Tap Tap~ came the thumping of little fingers on my head. I looked up to see Quin crouched in front of my desk peeking at me.
“Did they... probe you...?” she said with a look of fear in her eyes.
“No, they didn't. No thanks to you, that is,” I said cutting an accusing look at her. I kept my voice to a whisper and tried to avoid looking like I was talking to myself.
“What was I supposed to do?! Attack them? Call the cops? Push all of their lamps over until they surrender?!” Quin said innocently.
“You could have at least come with us,” I said.
“We had a quiz in first period... Don't ask me to choose between you and getting into a good college,” She scolded me.
I narrowed my eyes at her. She stuck her tongue out and shimmied back to her seat.
Third period came, and with it the sounds of war. Dodge ball... a dark sport where the weak are crushed beneath the boots of the strong. People were being hit all around me. There were only a few of us left. Riley was down and it was only a matter of time before they finished her off. I looked across the court to see Gage and his gang. They had systematically wiped out most of us, and now Tessa and I were the only ones still standing.
Tessa wasn't even paying attention. Her eyes were locked on her phone as she skimmed her play-list for today's soundtrack. Gage reared back, and flung his most powerful attack at her. The ball sailed brilliantly through the air, surely it carried the crushing force of broken dreams with it. Tessa wasn't even looking, and there was nothing I could do. This is it...
The ball was only feet from her face when suddenly!-
-Tessa's hand appeared in its path and she caught it. Her face reappeared as her hand dropped to her side, the ball clutched tightly in it. Her eyes locked onto Gage as she clicked a song on her phone, and her headphones began to blare music. She popped her neck, and a change fell over her I had not yet seen.
She was no longer Tessa. She was like a ballerina of death, dancing to the symphony of destruction. All in her wake fell before her graceful movements. She flung the ball and Gage dodged, but another behind him never saw it coming. He was flung into the gym wall, motionless. His mother would be ashamed to see him fall so meekly.
A ball was thrown towards her. Then another, and another; all of which she spun, flipped, and evaded with ease. Each time her feet hit the ground, she scooped up a ball, and hurled it towards the enemy. It was no longer a match of red versus blue, or them against us. No. It had become Tessa against the world, and pity be to the world. All fell before her pirouette of genocide. I covered my eyes as she unleashed her final strike against Gage, and when the dust had settled, only a crumpled shaking figure of him still remained.
Our fallen comrades rose and cheered, a victory had been won today when all we had known was defeat. People chanted her name, and there was singing in the streets. There was a new reign today. All hail to the ki- She Leered at all of us, an icy chill shot down my spine as I became the centerpiece of her malice... and so it seems we merely replaced one tyrant with another.
Tessa's eye was twitching as I sat down next to her at our table for lunch. She looked at me expectantly.
“...What?” I asked.
“You're sitting next to me... It's bad enough that I have to sit behind you in class. Lunch is supposed to be my break from you,” She said.
“Well Quin sat next to Riley so I had to sit here,” I replied.
Riley and Tessa's eyes looked to the empty place next to Riley. There I saw Quin with a puckered face trying to suck down a frozen over milkshake. She heard her name and opened her eyes to see us all looking at her.
“...I'm busy... this is important and I need to focus,” She said.
Riley laughed. I guess she can hear Quin through me. Tessa on the other hand was doing her best to leer at Quin but she seemed oblivious.
“I get the feeling I'm not being taken seriously,” Tessa said.
“Well, you're not wrong,” I replied as I slurped up my sub-par spaghetti.
Later that day I found Tessa in the library with a book labeled “Practical Necromancy.” Now the question is: Do I shrug and walk it off, or give in to curiosity?... Maybe just a quick look...
“Necromancy?” I asked.
“Gonna resurrect Quin,” She said flatly.
“... Why?” I probably don't want to know.
“So I can kill her,” She said.
I'm not sure what else I was expecting. I didn't say a word. I just turned around and walked away. What I should have done in the first place...
I got held up after class today, which means I didn't have to walk home with Riley. I wasn't surprised to find Quin waiting for me by the gate, however. I also wasn't completely upset about it, either. She gave me a smile and together we headed home.
We were about to cross the final intersection before my neighborhood when a solid black van pulled up in front of us.
“You've gotta be kidding m-”
Two large men in black suits jumped out and punched me in the face. Lights out, good night...
“Nyuuuggghhhhhh....” This is getting out of hand... I opened my eyes expecting a small square room, but instead I found myself in a run down warehouse. I was taped to a chair and a rope was tied around my torso. This is... a bit different. Alright, I'm awake. Where's the cute teenage girl waiting to interrogate me?
A door opened across from me and in came a... Giant black man with a cigar in his mouth and a hateful look in his eyes. If he takes his pants off I swear I will-
“Thought you could hide from me?” He said slowly.
“I wasn't hiding from anyone. Had I known YOU were looking for me I would have disappeared a long time ago,” I replied.
The man leaned down, his face uncomfortably close to my own. He exhaled a noxious plume of smoke directly into my eyes.
“Gonna cry?” He asked tauntingly.
“Don't worry Isaac,” I heard a familiar voice come from beside me. I looked over to see Quin smiling at me. “I'm here for moral support.”
I squinted at her. There's literally nothing she can do.
The man grabbed my jaw and turned my head back to him.
“Pay attention to me when I'm speaking to you,” He said. “We know you've been working with the military. There are people... very rich people... Who don't want to see those exoskeletons made. So it's nothing personal, but I'm going to have to kill you. Any final requests?” He asked.
“Don't you think you've forgotten something?” I asked.
His brow furrowed as the gears turned slowly in his head. I know thinking is hard and not exactly for everyone, but it seemed he was a special kind of stupid. He probably has some idiot name to go along with it too, like “Knife” or “The Butcher.”
Someone stepped out of the door across from us and said, “Razor, stop messing around and just kill him!”
Razor. I was close.
Razor pulled out a knife and came towards me. I cleared my throat as he did and said,
“I'm the hero of this story, and everyone knows that the hero never dies in the very beginning. I mean sure maybe at the end, but we haven't even gotten started yet. There's no way you're going to be able to kill me,” I explained.
Razor paused and asked, “What the hell are you talking about?”
“I'm talking about plot convenience,” I said with a sly grin.
With that, the windows shattered and a dozen men in Combat Fatigues repelled into the room. Doors were blown off their hinges as others breached the room and encircled us. The men in the room from before were being drug out with their hands tied. Razors jaw dropped as a dozen red lasers appeared on his chest, waiting for him to get froggy.
He dropped the knife as Lieutenant Shizune came strutting in. Several others cuffed him as she cut me free of the chair. As I rubbed the feeling back into my wrists I said,
“Thanks, I guess I owe you one now.”
“Does that mean you'll help us?” She asked.
I slung my bag over my shoulder and headed for the door.
If you liked it, leave a comment at the bottom, please. I have no way of knowing if people are reading and enjoying any of this otherwise!
Isaac was born to be the main character, and
he knows it. Though, were it up to him, that would
not be the case.
He wants a quiet life. A normal life. For seventeen
years Isaac has done everything he can to avoid
the lead role.
Supporting characters practically throw themselves
head on into Isaac's path as he desperately tries to
derail whatever Pilot Episode, Prologue, or Opening
their "Chance Meeting" might result in.
Isaac Gray might not be a bad guy,
but he is certainly
No One's Hero.