She went in and out of consciousness, catching bit and pieces of people talking. But not enough to figure out what they were saying. She was so out of it she barely knew where she was. Then there was something, a person, by her at all times. The same one, that she was positive of. For some reason she didnâ€™t feel as scared knowing that he was there. When she finally came too she felt somebody holding her hand say, â€œCome on Rachel, I canâ€™t do this without you.â€
â€œJâ€¦ Jack?â€, she said hoarsely. God her throat hurt.
â€œRachel,â€ he said quickly while he used his hand to get her hair out of her eyes. Her vision cleared enough that she could see him. Were those tears in his eyes? â€œThank God youâ€™re alright.â€
â€œWhatâ€™s going on? What happened?â€, she started to sit up but he gently held her down. Good thing because her head was killing her.
â€œCareful, youâ€™re still going to be a little woozy.â€
â€œBut what happened? I remember being in the forest.â€
Jack wouldnâ€™t look at her, â€œI didnâ€™t see him until it was too late.â€ She remembered what happened and reached out to him.
â€œJack that wasnâ€™tâ€¦,â€ she started when he got up and headed for the door and opened it.
â€œDusty!â€, he yelled, â€œFriedman! Sheâ€™s awake.â€
In moments Dusty and Friedman rushed into the room. Jack stood as Dusty took the seat he just occupied. â€œHey there darlinâ€™,â€ he grinned, eyes filled with emotion, â€œyou gave everybody quite a scare.â€
â€œA girl got to get some attention some how,â€ she joked weakly.
â€œEase up on the talking darlinâ€™, your neck still gonna be a little tender for a bit. Excuse me a second,â€ he tilted her head up and removed a bandage she didnâ€™t even know was there. â€œIâ€™d say thatâ€™s healing rather nicely. Wouldnâ€™t you say so Dr. Friedman?â€
â€œOh I agree, some of your best stitch work if I do say so myself,â€ he added with a bit of humor.
Dusty replaced the bandage and explained what was going on, â€œYou were injected with a toxin from that jellyfish. They got most of it out of ya but there was still some in you. I called Friedman to bring a anti-toxin. Youâ€™ve been out about a day or so.â€
â€œFeels like it was longer,â€ she told him.
â€œWell that bastard had a pretty good grip in your neck from the look of things. That and the puncture wound gonna leave a pretty nasty bruise on your neck. Good news is itâ€™ll probably cover up that hickey Arron gave you sucking the poison out,â€ he grinned.
â€œFunny,â€ she deadpanned.
â€œI thought so,â€ Friedman added, â€œdidnâ€™t you Jack?â€ Thatâ€™s when they realized he wasnâ€™t in the room any more. â€œAt least he would if he was here.â€
â€œLeave the boy alone,â€ Dusty said while checking her pulse. â€œI think this the first time heâ€™s even left the room since we brought you back here. Give him a chance to get his head straight. From what I hear he went mid evil on the guy.â€
â€œI guess your right,â€ Friedman conceded.
â€œHe did what?â€, she asked.
â€œHe took the bastard down darlinâ€™.â€ He flashed a light in her eye, â€œAnd between you and me, I donâ€™t think heâ€™s gonna feel all that bad about it either.â€
She sat up after Dusty gave her the ok. A familiar smell came into the room before someone walked in carrying a tray with a bowl on it. â€œIs that jambalaya?â€
â€œIâ€™m afraid itâ€™s only a box mix,â€ the woman said as she sat the tray in front of her. Rachel looked over to Dusty wonder if it was ok for her to eat. He read her mind.
â€œDo you think Iâ€™m going to risk Jack kicking my tail all over this place if I say no?â€
Rachel inhaled the aroma before picking up a spoon, â€œGuess I woke up on the right day.â€
â€œWe werenâ€™t planning this today,â€ the woman informed her. â€œJack more or less begged that we have this ready for you when you woke up. He even gave me the money to buy what I needed.â€
â€œHeâ€™s feeling guilty,â€ she said. That idiot thought this was his fault, she just knew it.
â€œLittle Lady,â€ Dusty said, â€œI donâ€™t think guilt played that large part in this particular request. Now eat what you think you can. Iâ€™ll be back in a couple of hours to check on you.â€
â€œOk Dusty,â€ she said and they left the room. She took a bite of the jambalaya, it wasnâ€™t the best she ever had, but it was still pretty good. Rachel just couldnâ€™t believe Jack went to all that trouble to get this â€œslopâ€ for her. She felt herself smiling because of it.
Melissa was on her way to Jack and Rachelâ€™s room when she heard she was up. A slight noise that sounded like sobbing caught her attention. Following it she found Jack sitting against a wall with his hand covering his eyes. He saw her and turned his face away. She found herself torn again. Part of her wanted to go over there and comfort him, but another part was reminding her that he was still her brotherâ€™s killer. Melissa sat on the floor cross legged across from him and waited for him to start talking.
It took him a few minutes but he finally did, â€œI never came that close to losing her before. I mean there were a couple of close calls but I alwaysâ€¦â€, he start to choke up. â€œHow did I not see him behind her?â€
â€œYou canâ€™t see everything Jack,â€ she tried to comfort him. â€œThe other said it was pretty crazy, they didnâ€™t see him either.â€ She knew she was failing miserably. â€œRachelâ€™s going to make a full recovery.â€
â€œI know Iâ€¦,â€ for the first time he looked lost. He closed his eyes, â€œRachel helped me get through so much.â€ He looked her right in the eyes, â€œShe was the reason why I just didnâ€™t give up and turn myself in while we were on the run. I knew thereâ€™d be no guarantee they wouldnâ€™t do anything to her.â€ She got up just long enough just to sit beside him. He seemed grateful for the gesture. â€œThere were times I just watched her sleep, just looking so peaceful despite the crap we were in. There was this one time when she fell asleep on my shoulder and I just stared at her for a long time. I remember thinking that she looked soâ€¦â€ he trailed off and closed his eyes again.
â€œJack,â€ she looked at him even though he wouldnâ€™t look at her, she took his hand, â€œyou can say it. You thought she was beautiful.â€
â€œI knew she was beautiful,â€ he said softly, â€œon the inside and out. I found myself thinking about her. I was actually worried she wouldnâ€™t talk to me again after I did that race Sparky dragged me to.â€ A little quieter he said, â€œI panic when I thought I wasnâ€™t going to see her again.â€
â€œAre you trying to tell me something Jack?â€. Melissa had an idea, but she wanted him to look her in the eyes and say it.
â€œIâ€¦ I think Iâ€™m inâ€¦â€ He shook his head, â€œNo, Iâ€™m inâ€¦ I loâ€¦,â€ then he stopped talking and got to his feet. Melissa didnâ€™t think it was possible to clamp down on an emotion as fast as he just did. â€œI gotta tell Arron Iâ€™m sorry for freaking out on him.â€
â€œDoes she know how you feel?â€, she asked as she stood up. Jack stopped and clenched his fist. She put a hand on his shoulder, â€œHave you told her how you felt?â€
He lowered his head slightly, â€œI canâ€™t.â€
â€œWhy canâ€™t you.â€
He turned around and shoved a heavily scarred right forearm in her face. With fresh tears in his eyes he snapped, â€œYou tell me why I canâ€™t!â€
Melissa put a hand on the forearm, â€œDo you really think she cares about this? Iâ€™ve seen the two of you together, she knows you more than just this.â€
He lowered his arm, â€œYou donâ€™t understand.â€
â€œHelp me understand then.â€
Jack looked at his hands, â€œPart of me is rebuilt and part of me has been augmented. I donâ€™t even know if Iâ€™m half human anymore. The other night when I took her by the hand to watch that tape, I realized I might be squeezing her hand too hard and not know it. Ever since the upgrade I had to think about stuff like that now.â€
â€œI think she would have said something if you were hurting her.â€
â€œI know, and the idea that she might scares the hell out of me.â€ He gazed at the ground before looking at her, â€œDoes this stay between you and me?â€
â€œThe only person better at keeping secrets than me is Emily,â€ she assured him. Jack slowly nodded and went to find Arron. She continued on to check on Rachel. She found her staring at the ceiling. Knocking lightly she asked, â€œWhat some company?â€
â€œSure,â€ she sat up bit. â€œSo whatâ€™s up?â€
â€œNot much just thought I check in and see how you were doing.â€ Melissa took the empty chair by her and looked down at the plate on the floor. â€œShould you be having that?â€
â€œJackâ€™s idea,â€ she informed her. â€œHave you seen him?â€
â€œA few minutes ago actuallyâ€¦â€
â€œHeâ€™s blaming himself isnâ€™t he? That idiot this wasnâ€™t his fault.â€
â€œRachel calm down.â€
â€œSorry, but heâ€™s got so much on his mind. I donâ€™t want him to add this too it.â€
â€œYouâ€™re the one laid up in bed and youâ€™re worried about him,â€ she chuckled. â€œYou are a better friend than I would be.â€
â€œHeâ€™s one of my closest friends right now,â€ she blushed slightly.
Melissa raised an eyebrow, â€œBut you want to be closer donâ€™t you?â€. Her face got redder, â€œSo why donâ€™t you?â€
â€œHe probably thinks Iâ€™d be too high maintenance for it to work,â€ she said a bit too fast. Did she realize how lame that sounded?
â€œRachel youâ€™re living in what basically a sewer. High maintenance you are not.â€
She smiled slightly, â€œMaybe, but if something was going to happen it would have happen before now.â€ Rachel lay back down, â€œIf you donâ€™t mind Iâ€™m feeling a little tired.â€
â€œSure Rachel, you get some rest.â€ Rachel turned over and faced the wall as she closed the door behind her. Smiling to herself Melissa wondered how long it was going to be before one of them actually admitted how they felt to the other.
â€œTell me Dr. Armstrong,â€ Anderson said as he wiped a finger on a lab table, â€œWhat was so important that you had to take equipment off a supply shipment?â€ Much to his surprise Armstrong didnâ€™t try to hide his actions, not totally anyway.
â€œThey were delicate instruments and I wasnâ€™t sure if they would survive the trip,â€ he said.
â€œAllen had no apparent problem when he was alive.â€ He enjoyed watching him squirm.
â€œWe advanced a bit since Allen started this particular project,â€™ he said quickly. Anderson always admired the quick thinking of this one.
â€œI was not aware of that,â€ he said faking surprise. â€œIt must be rather new equipment then.â€
â€œYes it is, very expensive too. The bean counters complained to no end.â€
â€œFunny,â€ Anderson slowly turned toward him, â€œI usually hear those complaints before the day is over. I havenâ€™t heard a peep from them concerning this equipment.â€ Armstrong looked like he was suppressing any visible reaction, but Anderson could smell the fear coming off of him. â€œI realize you and Dr. Parker have some personal issues. But I will not tolerate any issue that starts involving my company.â€
â€œThat second mark one should be here,â€ Armstrong said. â€œNot in some storage warehouse in the middle of a pier being watched over by some drunk.â€
â€œFor what itâ€™s worth Dr. Armstrong I agree with you. Unfortunately Allen set this one in motion. The second mark one wasnâ€™t in shape to be transported. And before you interrupt, may I remind you that you were reluctant to move Davidson from one floor to another while you were working on him.â€
â€œI realize that butâ€¦â€
â€œBut nothing,â€ Anderson said with authority. â€œDr. Parker will get the equipment he needs to finish the second mark one. And if I hear anything about part of the shipment being missing again,â€ he paused and looked around the room, â€œIâ€™ll need to rethink who needs to be in charge of R&D.â€
The next day Dusty said it was alright for Rachel to walk around a bit. Jack barely left her side. From the cafeteria to the main area he was there making sure she was alright. Part of him actually felt a little better when she gave him that annoyed look of hers. â€œIâ€™m not an invalid you know. I can do this on my own.â€
â€œI know, but Dusty said you were still going to be a little weak for a couple of days. I donâ€™t want you falling on your butt in front of everybody.â€ She gave him that annoyed look again.
â€œWell if you insist on being here I might as well use you,â€ she hooked her arm around his. â€œFor support that is.â€ Rachel looked around at the crowd and saw some of the looks they were giving him. â€œWhat did you do now?â€
Should he be honest or should he lie? â€œWord got around quick that I went postal on that jellyfish. Some of them started looking at me as the Drakan Killer again.â€
â€œWell there went some of the work we did right out the window.â€
â€œItâ€™s a trade off Iâ€™d do again and again if I had too,â€ he told her. She looked him with a bit of suspicion, â€œNo joke.â€
â€œItâ€™s hard to tell with you at times.â€
â€œIâ€™m always dead serious when it comes to my friends.â€ Rachel said nothing but she did squeeze his arm a little. He heard a grunt behind him. Jack knew he shouldnâ€™t look but he did anyway. He felt his lip start to curl in disgust when he saw the human form of the monkey standing behind him.
â€œHow decent of you bug,â€ he sneered.
â€œJack,â€ Rachel spoke before he could open his mouth, â€œIâ€™m feeling a little tired.â€
He never took his eyes off the monkey, â€œOk Rachel.â€ He knew she was probably lying but the faster he got away from him the better.
â€œYou do everything she says huh? How many of us did she you after?,â€ he taunted. â€œDid she make you report back after each kill, huh? How long before she starts telling you to kill the rest of us?â€ Rachel started to turn and argue back but Jack stopped her.
â€œYouâ€™re suppose to be the smart one remember?â€, he said without humor.
â€œOr maybe,â€ he said slowly, â€œyouâ€™re clinging to her because you know you couldnâ€™t save her.â€ Jack stopped in his tracks, Rachel pulled him foreword. â€œJust like you couldnâ€™t save your other friend. Maybe you could replace her like you replaced him.â€
Jack turned around sharply and headed for the monkey, â€œYou want to go you over grown chimp? Then letâ€™s go!â€
â€œWhat happened to take Anderson down first then?â€, he sneered.
Jackâ€™s hand was already balled up and reared back ready to fly when Sparky and Arron got between them. â€œCalm down you too,â€ Arron told them.
â€œYou canâ€™t order me around you stupid green,â€ the monkey exploded.
â€œHeâ€™s just giving you some advice,â€ Sparky told him. â€œNow you might want to follow it or Iâ€™ll give you some advice of my own.â€ He snapped his fingers, causing a little spark, â€œYou dig?â€
â€œTraitor,â€ he spat and stormed off.
After he calmed down for a bit Jack went, â€œSparky, that took some guts.â€
â€œI only jumped in because Arron did,â€ he said.
â€œI know, just trying to make you feel better about yourself.â€
â€œJack behave yourself,â€ Rachel slapped him lightly on the arm.
â€œHey, itâ€™s cool,â€ Sparky grinned. â€œWhatâ€™s a little ribbing between buds.â€ Sparky held out a fist and Jack hit it with his. â€œGood seeing you on your feet Rachel.â€
â€œI hear I have Arron to thank for that.â€
â€œAre you kidding?â€, the kid rubbed the back of his head. â€œIf Jack didnâ€™t get that jellyfish away from you I couldnâ€™t have done anything.
â€œLetâ€™s just call it a team effort and leave it at that,â€ Sparky said. â€œCome on kid I got to show how to pull off a basic scam. Trust me itâ€™ll fit right in with the business world.â€
â€œStill feeling tired?â€, Jack asked Rachel.
â€œA bit,â€ she admitted. He held out his arm and she took it. â€œI know you wanted to tear into him. Itâ€™s a good thing you didnâ€™t.â€
â€œI know,â€ he said, â€œbut I think Iâ€™ll avoid the wait and start kicking myself now for not doing it.â€
Melissa called an emergency meeting in the war room. Lance had even made the trip to be there. She was not sure how they were going to take this bit of news. â€œFreidman,â€ she started, â€œand our driver both sent something in. The driver said several delivers have been to a warehouse at the pier,â€ she pointed it out on the map. â€œHe even heard one of the scientist talk about it. Normally I wouldnâ€™t worry about it. But we got a copy of the inventory list to Freidman. He recognized several of the items.â€ She paused to glance over to Jack, â€œHe said the equipment that was being sent could be used to stabilize somebody hooked up to the Fusion system.â€
Jack stared at Rachel. â€œI didnâ€™t know anything about this,â€ she told him. Melissa could tell she was telling the truth.
â€œFreidman told us this before,â€ Lance said.
â€œWe never had a definitive location before either,â€ she told him. â€œIf anything we can find out one way or another if Anderson creating another one.â€
â€œSo we go in and blow the place to hell,â€ Jason said.
Nathan disagreed, â€œNo, we should make sure first. We already fell into one trap.â€
â€œA small scout party then,â€ Lance agreed, â€œto make sure.â€
â€œAnd stop him from doing this to somebody else,â€ Jack added darkly while staring at the back of his hand.
â€œWhich is why I think we should just send you Jack,â€ she told him. He started emitting a wave of uneasiness. â€œThe way I see it youâ€™d be the best one here to do this. You can sneak in and if you have to engage whoever inside.â€
â€œAnd I can determine if they are bonding Fusion system to somebody,â€ Rachel said.
â€œNot his time Rachel,â€ Jack spoke suddenly while not looking at her. She looked stunned. â€œDusty said youâ€™re still going to be feeling it for a few days.â€
â€œJack I can handle this no problem,â€ she told him. â€œYou need somebody out there with you who going to knows for sure.â€
â€œIâ€™m going to have to go with Jack on this one Rachel,â€ Melissa said. Rachel hid it well but she could sense the hurt. â€œUntil Dusty gives me the ok you stay here.â€
â€œThen how is he going to know if itâ€™s the Fusion system?â€, she argued.
â€œWell we do have these,â€ Nathan pulled out a small earpiece with a microphone. â€œHe can stay in contact and tell us what heâ€™s seeing.â€ Jack took the device and gave Rachel a half grin.
â€œAnd this was the original idea when you were first assigned to me.â€ Rachel smiled a little bit. â€œOk, hereâ€™s the ground rules. If I have to throw down with something no backseat fighting, you got me?â€
Rachel crossed her arms and tried to look annoyed but that smile wouldnâ€™t disappear. â€œIâ€™ll agree to that if you watch yourself out there.â€
â€œHey, I got me, I got the bike, and I got the boomstick what could go wrong?â€
They were all confused until Rachel clued them in, â€œYouâ€™re calling the staff Lance gave you the â€˜Boomstickâ€™?â€
â€œWhat am I suppose to call it, the charge staff?â€ Jack headed out the door with the device in his hands. He could be heard saying, â€œWill this go through foil?â€
â€œRachel can I speak to you for a minute?â€, Melissa said as the other exited the room. When they were alone she asked, â€œAre you all right with my decision?â€
â€œNo, Iâ€™m not,â€ she admitted, â€œbut I understand why you made it. Iâ€™m not a hundred percent and Jack doesnâ€™t need the distraction. But Jack freaked a little at the idea of another person bonded to the Fusion system. Iâ€™m not sure how heâ€™s going to react.â€
â€œThen you can talk him down through the earpiece,â€ she told her. Melissa walked up so she was closer and said a little quieter, â€œI know you have feelings for himâ€¦â€
â€œIâ€™ll do my job like a professional Melissa.â€
â€œGood,â€ she nodded. â€œNot that I had any doubt I just wanted to hear it. I know weâ€™re not the closest of friends, but I hate to think I just damaged what friendship we did have.â€
â€œNo harm done,â€ Rachel assured her, â€œyouâ€™re just doing your job.â€
â€œGod, I glad to find somebody around here who actually understands that.â€
Jack drove off alone through the pier. He rode alone before, but this time it felt weird not to have her there with him. He made a mental note to make it up to her some how. Part of him realized that he just passed the area where he saw Maxâ€™s ghost. No, where his imagination played a trick on him he told himself. Quickly getting that thought out of his head he slowed down so he could read the numbers on the warehouse. The one he was looking for was on the far end of the pier. He parked the bike behind some crates, removed his helmet and reached into his hood to turn the earpiece on, â€œCan you hear me?â€
Rachelâ€™s voice came though with no problem, â€œClear as a bell. Whatâ€™s the situation so far?â€
â€œNot a guard that I can see. Iâ€™m heading for the front door.â€ Jack peeked around the corner and quickly crossed the distance. â€œThe door got a lock.â€ Jack reached into a pocket and pulled something out.
â€œAlright, if Iâ€™m right it should be a palm reader or something. Youâ€™re going to have to find another way in.â€
â€œI unlocked it.â€
â€œWhat,â€ she was flustered, â€œhow didâ€¦â€
â€œIt was a padlock,â€ he told her, â€œmy uncle taught how to pick those when I was in first grade.â€
â€œThen it might be the wrong building,â€ he heard Lance say.
â€œI think itâ€™s the right place,â€ Jack said looking around before opening the door. â€Uncle Peteyâ€™s first rule of locks: the more elaborate the lock the better the prize inside. Sometimes you want something simple to guard your most valuable possession.â€
â€œThat and it would look out of place down there,â€ Melissa said.
â€œThat too,â€ Jack quickly closed the door. The inside smelt hospital clean, so it was definitely the right place. Reaching into another pocket he pulled out a small flashlight. The first thing he found was an empty glass tube that looked like it could hold somebody his size. A chill ran down his spine as a vision of him floating in blue liquid hit him. He shook his head to get rid of that one.
â€œJack,â€ Rachel heard him grunt, â€œyou alright.â€
â€œYeah, I just had a flashback to something.â€ He swung the light around the room and some paper attached to a board. Looking them over he said, â€œI found a blueprint from the look of it.â€
â€œCan you tell what it is?â€, Rachel asked.
â€œIâ€™m not sure but it looks like some kind of arm.â€ Feeling something in his gut he searched the rest of the plan. He found something in the corner that said, â€œFusion System, mark one, arm, left.â€ And he stared at his own left arm. He gulped and asked quietly, â€œRachel where was I rebuilt?â€
â€œI know what youâ€™re thinking Jack, but youâ€™re wrong. You were rebuilt in the labs at World Inc. not there. Iâ€™ve seen the documentation, you never left the building until after your system was activated.â€
â€œThen what the hell is this crap?â€
She sighed over the line, â€œIt sounds like they are making another one.â€
â€œDoes it look like theyâ€™re getting started or finishing up?â€, he heard Melissa ask.
He pulled away from the plans and looked around. Some of the stuff looked used but others looked brand new. â€œIâ€™m not sure.â€ Then the lights came on surprising him, â€œAh hell.â€ He turned around and saw an older man in a lab coat holding a metal flask.
â€œWho in the bloody hell are you?â€, he demanded. Then he saw the empty tube and ran over. â€œThat green son of a bitch took â€˜im!â€. He looked over to Jack and accused, â€œYou helped him didnâ€™t you?â€
He held his arms up and backed away, â€œI donâ€™t know what youâ€™re talking about man.â€
Then the lab coat started sniffing the air, â€œDrakan blood. Youâ€™re him ainâ€™t you? Armstrongâ€™s inferior version of the mark one. Time to show that pompous ass how inferior his model really is.â€ Tentacles grew out of his face as he changed into a red octopus. Faster than Jack could react the Drakan grabbed him and threw him into the wall and he landed behind some lab equipment. â€œCome on you git, turn on that system and I can show him what a piece of crap he created.â€
Jack held the back of his head as he stood up, â€œIâ€™ll try not to take that personally.â€ He brought his left arm up and brought out the belt. He swung it to the left and brought up his right arm, â€œHenshin!â€, and slammed his hand down on the belt. The armor formed around him and Jack picked up a readout machine in front of him and tossed it at the Drakan. The octopus dodged giving him the chance to jump over and get ready to fight. They circled around the tube, then Jack charged in the other direction. He caught a backhand from the Drakan and nailed it in the ribs with his fist. The he jammed his knee into its gut, following up with a punch to the back of itâ€™s enormous head. It ducked a spin kick and stood there. Two of its tentacle reached out and grabbed him by the wrist. â€œWhat theâ€¦?â€, was all he got out before it threw him into the tube.
The glass shattered on impact as he went through it. The octopus grabbed him again and hauled him up, punching away with his fist. Jack kicked his foot up and caught him in the gut again, but it didnâ€™t let go. So he grabbed back and started swinging it around into what ever was closest, lab equipment, the wall it didnâ€™t matter. It finally let go, but it head butted him. The helmet protected him from most of the blow and he backhanded the Drakan. Its tentacles flailed distracting him from the foot coming at him. Jack spun from the impact, when he turned back around a tentacle grabbed him around the neck and started squeezing. â€œNot bad for somebody who used to be human, but I was trained to be a warrior before they realized how smart I actually was.â€ The Drakan threw him through the remains of the tube. He slid across the floor and hit the wall. It picked up an IV pole and turned it upside down. The octopus raised it over its head. Jack say the intent in its eyes, it was planning on planting that thing in his head. He slid between its legs and the pole got implanted in the wall. â€œOh bloody hell,â€ the Drakan muttered.
Jack punched it the gut to get it to back up. Then he brought up his feet and planted them in its chest. He heard the air leave its body. He got to his knees and waited for it to straighten up. When it did he ran in, put his left foot on its knee, swung his right leg up so his shin smashed into its head. The Darkan recovered fast and slammed both its fists into his head. He kicked back, jumped up and hit it with his fist on the way down. The meter started flashing as the Drakan started to run. He twisted the pod down and chased after it. The octopus grabbed a gurney and hurled it at him. Jack Jumped up and leaped off the gurney. He extended his right leg and his foot hit its head. The octopus flew into a chalkboard before exploding. He deactivated the system and put his hand on his knees breathing hard. Then Rachel shouted in his ear, â€œâ€¦are you?! Jack come in!â€
He grabbed his ear, â€œIâ€™m here, stop yelling already.â€
â€œWhat happened, we lost the signal for a few minutes.â€
â€œI had a Drakan walk in on me and had to power up the system.â€
â€œWe heard that part. Did you deactivate the system?â€
â€œYeah, just now,â€ he told her.
â€œThe suit blocking the signal for some reason. Looks like Iâ€™ll be wearing that thing in the future.â€
â€œSure, why not.â€ He looked around the room at the mess. â€œWell if they were making another one I might have set them back a bit. But from the way that guy was talking it might be too late.â€
Anderson walked into R&D, and like he suspected the second mark one was there in the back of the room. Armstrong just stood there waiting for any reaction, no matter what it was. Anderson stared at the tube. â€œWe have a rather unusual report that just came in,â€ he said after a moment. â€œThe rebels discovered the location of Dr. Parkerâ€™s lab last night. It was found destroyed and the good doctor dead. Seeing how we discovered the existence of this lab a couple of months ago, how do you suppose they found out about it?â€
â€œIâ€™m sure I donâ€™t know sir,â€ he said not betraying anything.
â€œI would imagine the most likely possibility,â€ he looked right at him and watched him squirm, â€œwas that word was leaked to them some how.â€ Armstrong stammered trying to find the right excuse. He calmly walked foreword and took a file that was next to the tube. â€œAs much as I despise the results, it did take care of a particular problem. Dr. Parker was getting a little too big for his status. The rebels, and whoever supplied them the information, actually did us a favor in that aspect.â€ Armstrong visibly relaxed. â€œSo how soon before this mark one is ready?â€
â€œA few days, a week tops Mr. Anderson,â€ Armstrong informed him.
â€œExcellent Dr. Armstrong. Iâ€™ll let you and your,â€ he empathized that last word, â€œstaff get to work.â€ Armstrong grinned and started ordering people around. Anderson studied the file in his hand then looked at the man in the tube. â€œWell Mr. Kingstone, R. I hope you are a more loyal operative than your predecessor was.â€