The Aftermath Of The Ghosts
7 Months After ODIN Fired On Federation
I walk over towards Merrick and sit down, lacing up my boots. I glance up at him and lean one elbow on my knee.
“So, what are we doing again? I thought the Federation was in full retreat after we fired ODIN.”
Merrick nods then crosses his arms.
“Well, they were. But just the other day, I heard from Keegan out in No Man’s Land that he and his squad were engaged by Federation soldiers. They had gone back to that wreckage sight you had found. Keegan said that half of his men are dead.”
I sit up straight, then stand up.
“Well, we gotta do something! I'll get Davis and-”
Merrick puts his hand on my shoulder.
“Hesh, stop. Keegan is on his way back here. He’ll give us the details, but I don't need you running off. We need to keep cool heads about this, and also try to keep it as quiet as possible. Things are back at baseline here, so I don't need more-”
Suddenly, Corporal Ramon runs up the stairs into the room and over to us.
“Sir, we've got a full Federation battalion on our radar, and it's headed right towards us!”
Merrick and I meet wide eyes, then I quickly pull on my gear, clipping my vest, then I grab my gun from my side and run down the stairs. Corporal Davis meets me next to the truck and pulls me aside.
“Walker, we need you to get the men together. The battalion is getting closer. They just appeared, and didn't show up on our radar until they were right on top of us.”
I shake my head.
“How's that possible? How could they get that close?” I ask, and Davis shrugs.
“You got me! But we need to reinforce our troops in the trenches. They're going to be on top of them any minute!”
I nod and then look up.
“Okay, meet me at the tower.” I turn to the men behind him.
“The rest of you are with me. Let's move out!” I yell, and they all follow after me. As we get closer to the beachfront, I can see the black uniforms of the Federation soldiers, and my grip around my gun tightens. I jump into the trench next to Private Emerson, and he looks over at me.
“Nice of you to join the party!” He yells, and I nod, then I hear the sound of gunfire.
“They've engaged our forces! Let's go!” I shout, and Emerson nods. I stand up and aim my gun towards the advancing troops. Firing, I watch the Federation soldiers fall as my bullets hit them, then I feel the weight in my chest.
I take my finger off the trigger and spin to the side under a small bridge. Closing my eyes, I lean against an ammo crate.
This is just like when the Federation attacked Santa Monica the first time, and we had to secure the beach.
Logan….. Rorke took my brother.
After Logan and I had blown up the train, we had killed Rorke. Or so we thought. Then he caught us off guard and took Logan away from me.
I grit my teeth.
I should have protected him.
If I hadn't been shot and Rorke hadn't been there and I hadn't screwed up, then my brother would be here, next to me, not with Rorke, or some god awful place, or……
I try to shake the thought out of my head, then I hear a shout.
My eyes shoot open, and I spin around to see my friend jump down into the trench behind me, and pull up his mask.
“Hey, kid.” He says in his low, gritty voice. I nod.
"You know, you can't really call me 'kid' when you're the same age as me." I say, and Keegan rolls his eyes with a smile.
"Oh, shut it." He sighs. I chuckle, then frown, looking out at the battle. Keegan puts his hand on my shoulder.
“Hesh, I know what you're thinking, but you need to stop thinking it right now! We need to defend the beach! We can't let it get taken, and let the base fall! Now we need to have a field commander here, Walker, and you're the best out of all of us.”
I raise my head, then set my jaw. I look around at my men.
“Okay, let's go.” I say, and I stand up over the trench to start firing. Keegan stands next to me, keeping my back.
I hear a yell from behind me, and I see Davis run up, with Kick next to him. They stop, and I turn around, ducking down while Keegan and the men continue to fire.
“What is it, Corporal?” I ask, and he nods towards the battle.
“Kick and I thought you could use the backup. There's more men on the way to reinforce us.”
I nod, then point over to one of the guns on the wall.
“Get on that MG, Kick, and lay down some fire!” I yell, and Kick jumps up, grabbing the gun, holding down the trigger.
The Federation soldiers duck for cover, in fear of being mowed down by the bullets.
The men keep shooting, and the sounds of battle fill my head.
Then a crackling in the headset comes through.
“Ghost Six-Three, what's your sitrep?”
I pause as I fire on a soldier aiming his gun at Keegan. He falls, then I shake my head.
“Merrick, we got problems. There's a whole lot more of these soldiers than we thought. But reinforcements are on the way, as told by Davis and Kick. But we need to hold the line!” I say.
Merrick stops, and I hear him hesitating.
“Captain, what is it?” I ask, stepping away from the wall.
Keegan looks up, and puts his finger to his com.
“Ghost Two-Two, what's up?” He asks, catching my gaze.
“Hesh, we got a new problem. Another force is headed for you, from the north. They're going to attack through No Man’s Land!”
My eyes widen as I look over at Keegan.
“There's no way the Federation would attack through there on their own. There's only one man I know that would be rash enough to do that.” I shout over the battle, and Merrick takes a breath.
Keegan shakes his head.
“I thought we determined he was down in South America!” He shouts, leaning back over the wall to fire upon the enemy again.
I raise my gun, and shoot at the Federation. More and more of their soldiers fall as Keegan and I shoot, and as Kick and Davis lay down fire.
But as their men fall, so do ours.
At least twenty men in the trenches lay either dead or injured.
I turn to Davis.
“Corporal! Get the wounded out of the trenches! And we need more men on the front line!” I yell, and he nods, then runs off, with a few men at his back to help the wounded.
I spin back around, and put my finger to my earpiece again.
“Merrick, I need to know if it really is Rorke.” I say determinedly, and Merrick taps away at the command platform.
“Affirmative, Six-Three. Our soldiers on the North front have PID on the leader as Rorke.”
I narrow my eyes, and clench my fists.
“That jackass came back…” I say through gritted teeth, and Keegan grabs my shoulder.
“Hesh, we can't be rash about this. Rorke returning can't just be a coincidence from what happened seven months ago.”
I look up at him, and my eyes narrow.
“That bastard took my brother away from me, Keegan! The only family I had left! He killed dad, he almost killed us all, and He. Took. Logan. I WON'T let him live this time!” I shout, and Merrick crackles in.
“Negative, Hesh. Don't engage with the North forces yet! The beach is our top priority. We have a small group holding the perimeter on the north. Rorke’s group isn't nearly as large as the forces on the beach, which is where we need all the support. All the firepower we can muster!” He says, but I shake my head.
“Merrick, you're in command, but I won't let Rorke take Santa Monica. And he will pay for what he's done.” I say.
I take my finger away from my ear, and grab my gun.
Turning towards Kick, I point towards the Federation.
“Keep the beachfront solid and out of their control, Kick!” I yell, and he lets go of the gun to turn to me.
“Hesh, I heard on the radio what Merrick said! Don't go to take on-”
“I don't need you telling me what to do, Kick! You, Keegan, or Merrick! Or any Ghost! This is MY fight! Rorke took EVERYTHING from me!” I yell, then jump out of the trench, running through the compound.
“HESH! GET BACK TO THE FRONT!” Merrick shouts through the radio. I shake my head.
“Merrick, you won't stop me. Not now.” I turn my comlink off, and grip my gun tighter.
Sprinting past the men headed to reinforce the beachfront, I yell to Davis,
“Keep the Federation from gaining command! We can't afford to lose the beach!” I yell, and Davis nods.
I take a deep breath as I near the north wall of the compound. I can see the group of men, shooting and trying to retreat back towards us.
In the distance, over the hill, I can see a Federation force, comprising of about sixty soldiers, with two Jeeps, one in front, and one on the side.
I run up to one of the men headed back towards the base, and I stop him.
“Soldier, I need you to listen to me! We are going to hold the North wall! If they get through here, then we risk our forces to their control!” I shout, and he nods.
“I’m Corporal Simmons, sir! My squadron and I will stay with you!” He then looks over at the others.
“Squadron Delta! Fall in! We're now under order by Field Commander Walker!” He yells, and I turn to the men.
“We cannot allow this brigade to pass. We will hold them back but we have to be cautious. There is a dangerous man leading them, and-”
Corporal Simmons stops, listening to something on the radio, then he turns back to me.
“Sir, Command has just asked that you return to the front lines.”
I shake my head, sighing, and turn my earpiece back on.
“Walker, I said not to engage them!” Merrick says sternly, and I roll my eyes.
“Okay, first off, we haven't engaged them yet.” I turn to see the men, and their ammo half gone.
“Well, I haven't engaged them yet. Secondly, I don't give a damn what you think, Merrick. But it's like I said before. This is my fight, and I will not let Rorke get anywhere any time soon.” I say harshly, and Simmons looks at me, then at his troop. I meet his eyes.
“We're going to stop those soldiers, no matter what.” I say, then I put my finger to my earpiece again.
“Command, Squadron Delta and I are going to engage the North wall adversaries, and force them back! Confirm!” I say, and I hear Merrick take a deep breath.
“Solid Copy, Six-Three. Be advised, Federation incoming has armed vehicles and almost sixty men.”
“Copy, Command. Walker out.” I say, then I turn to Simmons.
“Come on.” I say, and he and his men follow me to the top of the hill.
The soldiers are almost on top of us, and I take out my gun, checking the ammo. I see the Delta Squadron checking their weapons, and Simmons runs over to me.
“You said there's a dangerous man leading them. Who?” He asks, and I frown.
“His name is Rorke. He was a Ghost, 13 years ago, but he was turned by the Federation.”
Simmons’ eyes widen, then a barrage of gunfire snaps us back to the fight.
I look up to see two men on the turrets of the Jeeps, firing at us.
Two of Simmons’ men fall dead, and the rest duck down below the bank.
I grit my teeth.
“We don't have time for this!” I stand up, and start shooting.
Aiming at the turret, one of the two men falls, and the Jeep swerves to knock down about fifteen of the soldiers. The others start firing at us, and more of the Delta Squadron fall dead around me.
I grit my teeth, and continue to shoot the Federation soldiers.
Then I hear a shout from beside me, and I glance to the side to see Simmons fall, shot down by the other turret.
All the other men lay dead, the only survivor being me.
The soldiers run up, and all train their guns on me.
I grit my teeth, then drop my gun.
The other Jeep drives up to me, and I look up in hate as Rorke stands up, leaning on the top bars of the Jeep.
“Well, if it isn't Hesh Walker.” He jumps down from the Jeep, and walks over to me.
“The ruthless Ghost.”
He punches me hard across the face, and I fall to the ground, blood running from my nose. He smirks.
“I guess looks aren't everything.” He says snarkily.
I groan, then grit my teeth. I jump back up, and punch Rorke in the mouth.
“You killed my father, you piece of shit!” I yell, then punch him again. He stumbles back, and the Federation soldiers raise their guns on me.
Rorke holds his hand out.
“No. Don't shoot him. I want to keep him alive.”
I grit my teeth, clenching my fists. I run at him, and tackle him to the ground.
“I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, RORKE!! YOU MOTHER FUCKER!! YOU TOOK MY BROTHER FROM ME!!!!” I yell, then he grabs me by my shoulders.
He flips me over, and pulls me up in a chokehold, pinning my arms down. I struggle against his hold, choking, gasping for air.
He leans his head close to me, and chuckles.
“Your brother was stronger than you ever would have been. You're nothing without your family, Hesh.” He says, and I close my eyes, taking a deep breath, then I slam my head back into his.
He groans and lets go of me, and I stumble forward out of his grip, coughing, then I turn on him.
“Shut up, asshole! You only made me stronger by taking my family, in my hate for you!” I yell, but a Federation soldier grabs me from behind, pins my hands behind my back, tying them with a zip tie, then forces me down to my knees.
Rorke shakes his head as he crosses his arms.
“Boy, you haven't any idea of how big this is, do you? You can't stop me.” He says, and I pull against the grip of the soldier.
“I WILL stop you! You, and all the Federation!” Rorke laughs, then smiles at me.
“But will you stop your own brother?” He says, and my eyes widen as a young man jumps out of the backseat of the Jeep and walks over, standing next to Rorke.
My eyes are wider than they could ever be.
“Logan….” I utter in disbelief, and he meets my eyes, the once kind and brotherly light in them now gone.
Rorke puts his hand on Logan’s shoulder.
“We'll bring him back to the base. See what he can tell us. Then, you can do what you want to him.” He says, and Logan nods, then turns his head back to me.
I feel my soul get crushed as Logan grabs me by my arm and drags me to the truck.
Throwing me in the back, I stare at him.
“Logan...I’m so sorry…” I say painfully, and he looks up at me, meeting my eyes, then takes the radio comlink out of my ear with a frown.
“You won't be.”
5 Minutes Earlier
I watch as the battle rages on on the beachfront, hoping it will end soon.
This is all too familiar.
Watching our men die and the Federation attacking once again.
I cross my arms and sigh.
Suddenly a crackling on the radio makes me turn around.
“We don't have time for this!” I hear a gritty yell coming through the static.
My eyes widen as I hear gunfire, and I grab the control.
“Hesh? Ghost Six-Three, come in!” I yell, but more gunfire meets my ears. Then a silence and a chuckle.
“Well, if it isn't Hesh Walker.”
My eyes widen as I hear Rorke’s taunting voice, and I grip the control tightly.
“The ruthless Ghost.”
I hear a groan as what sounds like a punch comes through the radio, then again.
“I guess looks aren't everything.” He says, and I frown. Hesh takes a deep breath.
“You killed my father, you piece of shit!” He shouts, and I hear him punch someone, then the training of guns.
He stops, and I silence myself, listening to the action.
“No. Don't shoot him. I want to keep him alive.” Rorke says.
Then an angered breath from Hesh.
“I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, RORKE!! YOU MOTHER FUCKER!! YOU TOOK MY BROTHER AWAY FROM ME!!!” He yells, and then I hear a scuffle, then the sound of Hesh choking.
My eyes widen.
“HESH!” I shout into the receiver.
“Your brother was stronger than you ever would have been. You're nothing without your family, Hesh.” Rorke says coolly, and I grit my teeth. Suddenly I hear Rorke grunt, then another scuffle.
“Shut up, asshole! You only made me stronger by taking my family, in my hate for you!” Hesh shouts, then a Federation soldier yells something, and Rorke sighs.
“Boy, you haven't any idea of how big this is, do you? You won't stop me.”
My eyebrow raises, and I check all the scanners, trying to find any trace of visual feed.
“I WILL stop you! You, and all the Federation!” Hesh says, and Rorke laughs, along with some of the soldiers.
“But will you stop your own brother?”
I drop the control, eyes wide.
“Logan….” Hesh says softly in disbelief, and I shake my head.
“We'll bring him back to the base. See what he can tell us. Then you can do what you want to him.” Rorke says, and I frantically try to get a visual.
Hesh groans, then a thud as he is shoved against something.
“Logan...I’m so sorry….” Hesh says quietly.
“You won't be.” Logan says, his voice flat and gone. I had almost forgotten what his voice sounds like. Then the feed crackles, and the radio stops.
I stare at the receiver for a minute, then I pick it up urgently.
“KEEGAN! KICK! I need you two up at command, NOW!” I shout and I hear them both reply.
“You got it.”
“Be right there, Merrick.”
I set down the receiver, and lean against the table. Rubbing my face with my hands, I sigh.
“Dammit, Hesh.” I mutter, then the door opens, and Kick and Keegan run in. They stop in front of me, and I look up.
“What is it?” Kick asks, and I take a deep breath.
“Rorke’s back. He took Hesh, and…..” I let out a sigh, and close my eyes.
Keegan walks over to me.
“What?” He asks.
I shake my head, and look up to meet his eyes.
“He's got Logan with him.”
Kick and Keegan’s eyes widen, and they exchange glances.
Keegan turns to me.
“Merrick, what do you mean, Rorke has Logan? As in-”
“As in Logan is now working for Rorke.” I say flatly, and Keegan steps back, his eyes disbelieving.
I nod slowly, not wanting to face the harsh truth.
“Yeah. Rorke beat Hesh, and Logan was the one who took him. Keegan, Logan is going to kill his own brother.”
I sit against the wall of the Jeep, hands tied behind me. I stare out the back, watching as I’m taken farther and farther away from Santa Monica.
The road becomes bumpy, as we enter No Man’s Land. I glance up slightly to see Logan standing above me, facing forward, gun ready.
I don't know what the hell Rorke did to him, but that's not my brother anymore.
At least it doesn't seem it.
I know that Logan is still in there somewhere.
I just have to figure out a way to get him back.
The Jeep rolls to a stop, in the same ballpark where we found Ajax. I close my eyes, and remember all that happened here.
Am I going to be another Ghost to die on this field?
I look up at Rorke.
“So, you're going to kill me just like Ajax? In the same park where we rescued him from?” I ask, and Rorke laughs.
“Oh, no. We're just stoppin’ off to get more men.”
I look around, and I can see more Federation soldiers getting in trucks with their weapons ready.
“So where are we going?” I ask, and Rorke turns around, leaning on the back of the seat.
“I wouldn't worry about it too much, kid. Your fate is going to be the same, no matter where we go.” He turns back around, and starts the Jeep again. Driving back out of the park, Logan turns his head to look down at me.
He turns and sits on the wheel well in the back, and stares at me. I meet his eyes, then drop my head.
I can't even bear to look at him.
This is my fault.
Now Rorke has us both.
He managed to turn my own brother against me, and now my fate is sealed.
I close my eyes, and sigh.
I know one thing for sure.
I’m not getting out of this alive.