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fortunate one

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“See something you like, Rogue?”

Again with that nickname, you thought. One incident of dropping off the grid for that STALKER and you already had the label ROGUE slapped onto you along with mess hall duty by a very disapproving Sergeant.

With a slight start, your eyes shifted away from the prisoner to the figure of the always chatty Private Donovan. The dim crimson light bathing the interior of the Mantis had lulled you into a faux sense of security.

Alas, it was better than those damn holograms.

“Only the shiner the bastard’s sporting,” you said easily. The prisoner was under sensory deprivation and couldn’t hear a word of what was being said.

“I heard our friend here was involved in the Great Decimation,” Donovan jabbed a finger in the direction of the prisoner. The man remained deaf and dumb to the world while looking like a glorified mummy.

“Oh? Which city was it? Vancouver?” How ironic it would be if he got Vancouver and eventually became detained at the Vancouver Detention Center.

Washington DC.” You let out a low whistle. Well, the prisoner was a high-grade one, “The bastard that failed,” Donovan added as an afterthought.

“Figures,” The higher-ups wouldn’t let mere military police guard a prisoner of such strategic importance, “I take it that one of those Polish-”

What was it? Leeches? Seers?

Observers. Although, our Polish friends abroad gave them the cute nickname of corporate leeches. I saw one in a detention facility. He was wheeled around the cart, a fucking head on a stick.” The hairs on the back of your neck stood on end. Well, that was just a great mental image.

Years ago, you would have laughed it off. No one in NAU had ever seen such a thing. At least until the treaty between Abstergo Industries and Chiron Inc., you would have.

Then...well many things came out-

“Having your fill of chatter back there, Private?” You jolted out of your thoughts. Right, you weren’t back in the warm confines of the mess hall. Instead, you were transporting a POW from the Lituya Military Base to the Vancouver Detention Center.

“Yes, sir.”

The interior of the Mantis settled into a tremulous silence that you knew would be broken. Most likely as Donovan always had something to say. Not that you were complaining. Night convoys like this one always rubbed you the wrong way.

“I can see Alaska from here.”

You opened your mouth only for the words to die in your throat.

It could have been the bleeding crimson light bathing the interior. But-

You could have sworn you saw the prisoner smile.

Your arm reached up to knock onto the glass paneling to the front because something was just wrong wrong wrong-

And it was.

Your world tilted and spun round and round in horrible, horrible crimson with that fucking smile-

Stop sToP StOp STOP-