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Deep End

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Bloodshot has been free for eight months or so now, having slipped the bonds of PRS and leaving them missing their star weapon, their prized possession, their ultimate trump card. He's hidden as best as he's able, and he's done well to stay off the radar. But he couldn't do it forever.

There was a fight in a bar. It ended up with a slaughter. The whole place is full of death and destruction that only a Bloodshot could cause.

And there's only one unaccounted for Bloodshot in the entire world.

Ray rests fitfully in a motel, curled up under a blanket and trying to sleep. He's failing. Why did he wipe the whole bar out? He's not even sure.


Ninjak has been given his orders. The Ninja can move fast, he has a jet for Christ sake. It doesn't take him long to track down the last Bloodshot, not after that bar reeked of death and made national news. Finding seedy motels is even easier.

He's third on his list. He doesn't bother trying to investigate at the office, he has something more important to worry about. Ray Garrison is near. He can feel it. Something directs him to where he needs to go- he doesn't question it anymore.

He debates knocking or just blasting in through the window. Backing up a few feet, Ninjak prepares to throw himself inside, hoping to get the surprise on the sleeping supersoldier.


Something is wrong. The Goldies are warning him, but he doesn't feel like getting up. Can he keep living like this? On the run, in temporary holes? What kind of life is this? At least back with PRS he slept in the same place every night, had a roof over his head. Sure, it was painful, but he didn't have to...

What is he THINKING? He doesn't want that life again. He hasn't even had a chance to make this one into something else. He swings his feet out of bed and rubs at his forehead. He's fully dressed, save for shoes.


The glass in his room shatters. A black and purple blur crashes it's way inside, aiming his sword right for Ray's head. No warning. No announcement, just brutal force. he's smaller than Ray, but something about him suggest he's more powerful than he looks, especially since he's coming after a Bloodshot. The black haired man looks furious in the dark, revealing in his natural camouflage.


Ray better be ready.


Ray stumbles to his feet and grabs a handgun, firing off three quick shots in rapid succession with no regard for someone else getting hit. He backs towards the bathroom, the only place TO go at this point.


Bullets hit metal. The man charges after him, still silent, still deadly, still leathal. He watches Ray back into the bathroom, raising his sword over his head.

"You have nowhere to go," a British accent is a surprise, something that doesn't seem natural on a man dressed as a big purple ninja. "Come with me  and comply, or go back in pieces."


Ray grabs a knife he left taped under the sink out of paranoia and charges the ninja. He's not going to go down without one hell of a fight. He doesn't know who this one is, or what to expect from him, but HE is Bloodshot, and that has to be enough, right? He throws his full force into Ninjak to try and push him out of the way and barrel for the door, leaving boots behind. He can't worry about that now. But he might not even manage to get PAST the ninja.


Ninjak swings his sword, hoping to clip Bloodshot. He knows about the nanites, but the more he hurts him, the longer it will take for him to heal. He catches what Ray's trying to do, but he knows better than to let him slip from his fingers.

Then again...playing cat and mouse might be fun.

"Stop running!" He shouts, trying to counter Ray at his legs.


Ray's arm is sliced open, but he tumbles past Ninjak and manages to scramble towards the door without another wound. The deep cut is already healing. He's in good shape right now. Wearing him down will take time. He's known for his resilience and determination. Could Ninjak initiate a surrender? Oh, he probably knows a code. But would he?

Not until the bitter end. It wouldn't be fun if he did.

Ray books it barefoot out into the streets of Kansas City, bleeding and startled.


Looking behind him, Ray wouldn't see the ninja. He's skilled. For a white guy, he seems to have all his ducks in a row. He follows Ray, hoping to drive up his paranoia.

Ninjak is fast. Deadly fast. He's going to make his way ontop of Ray via buildings.


Ray books it, running straight for downtown and the bohemian sector. He knows how easy it is to ditch people there. He can also head over towards the concert venues. Maybe he'll get lucky and there will be a crowd tonight.

Somehow he knows, though, that he's hit the end of the line.


Indeed he has. Ninjak's reappeared behind him, sword drawn. If he's led into a crowd, there's no telling what he might do. He might kill everyone just to get to Bloodshot. He looks furious.  he hasn't said anything since he told him to back down. There's a fire, though. He has one goal in mind.


Bloodshot runs into the entrance of a parking garage's stairwell, heading down underground and breaking off onto the third level below the street. At least down here there will be less civilians. He's chilled from the rain and the weather and overstimulated by the noises of the city nightlife. There are plenty of staircases up from here, but he's HOPING he can get some good hits in on his pursuer.

But that nagging voice continues to tell him he's not going to get away again.


"You're starting to annoy me," a parking garage was a bad choice. The stealth he has is incredible, so is the speed. A light goes out thanks to some tool, hoping to make it easier for him to move around. He doesn't know if Bloodshot has nightvision, but for now that doesn't matter. A flash of steel is swung behind Ray, hoping to clip him.


Ray has no idea what this strange ninja is capable of, and he's clearly not doing well right now.


Where he was staying is not the only testament to that. He's haggard and tired, and his reaction times are sluggish compared to what they are in peak condition. He's been so concerned with staying free he's barely lived.

The sword cuts down into his shoulder and cuts down his back, too. Ray stumbles and snaps a kick back, trying to use technomancy to tap into the garage cameras to grant himself a sharper picture of his surroundings and opponent.
He fails.


Ray lands a kick on him and Ninjak stumbles back, coughing a moment. But just like that, he's back in the game. He's resilient and focused, it will take a lot to beat him down.

"Surrender," he orders, swinging his sword again to slice at his chest. They said bring him alive, they never said how many pieces he had to be in.


Cut, again. He's healing, but he feels himself starting to begin to tire. He staggers and tries again.


Surely SOME part of that armor isn't bulletproof. He sends off five shots, backpeddling and with incredibly good aim. He has 15 total. He's now used 6 of those.


A shot clips Ninjak in the collar, all it does is make him stagger back. He's enhanced, that's obvious, and not in the mood to slow down. He might be mostly bulletproof, but it still hurts like a motherfucker with how close they are to one another. Another swing, quick on his feet and in no way slowing down.

"Surrender." another command.


"Is that the only phrase you know?" At least Ray has a personality. He's hungry, isn't he? That's why he's slowing down faster than he should. That swing was smart. It cuts into Bloodshot's unarmored thigh, and he staggers to a knee, firing off ALL of the rest of his bullets before he throws the handgun straight for Colin's face. In those seconds, he's had time to at least close the wound and move on his foot again, down to his knife.


Ninjak falls backwards to avoid being shot in the face.

"Wouldn't you like to know," his wrist flicks, and with a jabbing motion he stabs something sharp into his other thigh, a needle full of sedatives he only uses when he's dealing with a raging animal.


He's hoping Bloodshot will get cocky and waste is amMo eventually.


Out of ammo and down to a blade, the drug tells him everything. The nanites don't stop it. They don't even try. That's PRS manufactured. He groans and wonders how quickly the dizziness will set in. He's shocked to find the answer is quickly. He takes several steps and nearly crumples, leaning against a cement pillar to stand. With increasing fear on his face, he slowly drops to one knee, then two. The knife clatters to the ground.

He's too weak to do this. He's done trying.



"There you go. And we had to bother with that chase," Ninjak makes a phone call, chatters for about three minutes, hangs up, then faces Bloodshot. "Shame."
He moves to drag him, forcing him to give a little bit of effort with him.

"You're lucky my jet is remote piloted. It'll be upstairs," Good thing this garage has an elevator.


Ray struggles in an attempt to stand and walk instead, but that might not work out in his favor, either.

"I'm not lucky at all."


"Oh God you're not gonna be all whiny are you?" He basically shoves him into the elevator. He's silent as they ride up, only speaking when the doors open. "You're in a heap of trouble, mate.They're going to love cutting into you."


"They always do." That was very nearly a snarl. "Always have." And this is why, ladies and gents, he ran when he had the chance."


"Sit down, there'" he points to a chair inside the jet. "Try anything and I'll have your ass responding to protocol," Ninjak knows them. He's not afraid to use them.

"Ninjak?" Neegan's voice is heard on the holocaller. "Was the object recovered?"

"Affirmative, Mr. Harriss."

"Good, see you back home."


Bloodshot takes a seat, not bothering to cause a fuss now. His eyes close for a moment, but Neegan's voice makes them crack back open. Shit. Ninjak? What kind of name is that? He snorts quietly.


"Something funny?" The ninja heard that.


"Ninjak. And I thought Bloodshot was bad."


"My codename is actually Ninja-K," he mutters. Oh, Ray's captor is a chatty Cathy.


"That sucks even more." He closes his eyes again.


"At least mine isn't edgy," Ninjak looks away and focuses on piloting.


"Let me guess. You're pretty new, aren't you? When did they activate you?"


"Activate? What the hell are you on about?" Is he lying? Hard to tell.


"Ah. You're a PERSON." The sarcasm is heavy. "When did they send you into the field?"


"I've been in the field for seven years, I'm MI6. Mr. Harriss was my handler," why is he just answering? Shut up, Colin.


"My condolences." He hates the fabled Mr. Harriss. "Then why are you working for PRS?"


"PRS is a branch. Mr. Harriss brought me in for work I can actually enjoy. Like hunting you down. But I don't work for anyone. I'm freelance."


"PRS doesn't work with anyone but themselves." He snorts. "MI6 supports human experimentation and torture now? I find that hard to believe."


“You’re not human,” Colin says that with confidence. “You’re a weapon that can walk and talk.”


"I'm not." He agrees. "But I was once."


“And?” He looks behind at Ray, raising an eyebrow.


"And they did this to me. Like I said."


“If you’re tryin’ to get sympathy points, you’re not gonna get far, mate. I have my orders. I don’t get attached.”


"None of you ever do. I know the drill. You're not the first one they've used to get me back." He rubs at one of the scars in his hairline to ease his nerves.


“Why keep runnin’ when you know that I’ll be on your heels now?” Ninjak adjusts something- auto pilot. He moves from his seat pulling his mask just over his mouth and getting a water bottle.


"I get tired of cells and nutrino baths and getting cut open."


“Then ask them to take out your brain next time,” he’s losing his confidence quickly. He’s conflicted.


"I still wouldn't die. I'd just wait until they put me back together again."


He uncaps the bottle. “Why does it matter to a machine? Living or dying?”


"Because I feel pain, if you weren't aware. I have emotions. I have a drive to survive just like you do." He shifts in the chair. "I'm not getting up, don't act out." He settles in, about as comfortably as he can, like he's considering trying to sleep. "I'm more like the PRS mascot than a machine."


“They told me you were an “it” with a superiority complex,” he takes a sip of water, eyes never leaving Garrison.


"That's what they say." He doesn't let the pronouns, or lack of them, bother him anymore. "They're probably right."


“And? What do you say?” He has Colin’s attention now.


"That I'm tired of your handler cutting my head open. And that your sword is sharp."


“Neegan’s dealt with you before? He said he was just an operative, not an operator.”


"You'll forget everything I tell you right now anyway. They'll wipe it. I don't know why I'm bothering."


“The hell do you mean?” Colin sounds concerned now. “They don’t touch me...” oh, something’s clicked.


"Just fly on. Don't get yourself hurt too." He quits, giving up the effort for now.


Colin sighs and slides back into his chair, taking back over. It wont be long before they land at PRS. Colin is silent the rest of the way back.

When they land, Ninjak has his mask off. Something curious might catch Bloodshot’s eye- mostly the strange scarring on his neck where his armor doesn’t quite reach.


Bite scars? It seems probable. Bloodshot doesn't stand. He will when told to. He expects Neegan or Dr. K to show up very soon.


“Mr. Harriss,” Ninjak greets Neegan when the doors open. The toothy vampire gently pushes him aside before joining Ray, grabbing his jaw.

“I thought we talked about this, Bloodshot. No more running away.”


"Yes, sir. We did." Ray remains relaxed and still. "But it didn't take."


“No, we’ll have to fix that. Ninjak, take him home,” Neegan lets him go and leaves, obviously not in the mood to deal with him. Ninjak grabs Ray’s arm, making sure he’s not still strapped in.

Ninjak is silent around Neegan. Obviously he fears him.


Ray stands and waits for Ninjak's lead before starting to walk a familiar path back into the mouth of hell. At least, that's what it is for him. He doesn't bother commenting on the interaction and doesn't cause trouble.


Ninjak looks nervous, something is going on. Ray is lead to a cell where he tells Ray to sit and wait for Neegan. He’s antsy. He slips his mask back on, like he’s trying to hid from where they are, though there’s something deeply confused in his eyes.


Ray hesitates at the door to the cell, but knows there is no point now. He steps inside and takes a seat obediently, although miffed about it.

"Calm down, kid."


“Things aren’t making sense,” he’s rubbing his forehead. He sighs and leans on the wall, glancing out the door. He’s anxious. That’s something Colin hasn’t felt in a long time.


"I know." He offers this, which is no help. "It's like why I remember six different wives..."


“Six?” That’s a ridiculous amount. He’s thinking it’s some polygamy thing.


"All with a kid or two. All in different places. I don't think any of them are real."


“No they’re not,” Colin knows that much. “Why make a fake life? Who else do they do this to?”


"All the 'Shots they've ever made. Probably more people." He's so tired. He stretches out on the bed in the cell and lays down.


Colin falls silent the minute Neegan walks in. In his hands is a needle, but he doesn’t inject Ray yet. “You did very good, Colin. You should get some rest.”

“No, sir, I’d like to watch.”

“Very well. hello, Bloodshot. Glad to have you back.”


"Hello, sir." He doesn't bother sitting up. "I can't say it's good to be here, though."


“You know what happens next, right?” Neegan is dragging it out like he does. “Arm or neck?”


"I know." Of course he does, by now. "Same stuff as always, or are they going to try something new?" He doesn't bother answering the question. Neegan will do whatever he wants.


“Whatever puts you down,” Ninjak shifts a moment, and the second Ray’s eyes unfocus from the drugs, it might seem like he’s not there at all. Neegan doesn’t notice. “More rewireing. You,” he points outside. “My tools.”


Ray whines in frustration, closing his eyes and fighting back a wave of dizziness.

"Y'don't have to." He actually seems like he's going to beg today. But the reason for that is quite simple, really. Ninjak is there, watching and seeing this. "Please don't." Oh, of course he has an agenda. Who wouldn't?


“Oooh, I missed the begging,” he watches his cart get wheeled in, pleased. He picks up one of the scalpels, forgetting about Colin a minute. “I actually have a new program for you. It’s essentially a GUGLK-” That’s a weird, random expression for Neegan to make all of a sudden.


Sarge: A new program from Neegan can't be anything good. He's waiting what is probably an awful explanation of something he'll hate when it is cut off. He opens his eyes and tries to figure out what happened.


Neegan is knocked to the side, revealing Colin behind him. He makes sure Ray isn’t strapped down before checking his eyes. He doesn’t know how strong those drugs are. More people will be coming in soon. “Can you stand?”


Confusion floods his features. He's light-headed and giddy in the worst way. He'll be weak in the knees.

"Not well. What are you doing, kid...? They're going to fuck you up for this..."


“Don’t care. Not interested in getting my head fucked more than it is. C’mon, lean on me. I can fight one handed,” he seems to be set on getting Ray out of there.


Bloodshot stands and leans on Ninjak, but he's damn well going to question this.

"Why are you doing this? You can't get far with me. If you want to escape, go while you have time. I'm dead weight."


“Sorry mate, I got a moral code and I’m not letting it slip for more money,” how noble. The first guard to come in to check the commotion has a shuriken tossed into his skull. Ninjak’s not kidding around. “I’m sorry I brought you back here.”


"You what...?" He is so confused. The thunk of a shuriken into a skull makes him snort with laughter. he ok?


“Giddy, Christ,” he lugs Ray down a corridor. “Are you too fucked to disable the cameras?” He saw him attempt his trick back at the garage.


He snickers again, hobbling along like a drunk sorority girl on homecoming night post-tailgating that was oddly specific.

"I'll try-" Ray focuses with all his energy and gasps in pleased surprise.

"Got them. Rerouting feeds, scrambling our locational data. Keep moving."


“Attaboy,” He’s quick, even with Ray on his back. He has a few more shuriken left, he can hopefully get them to his jet. With the camera feeds off them, Colin has a better chance now. “Christ on a bike how much do you weigh?”


"That's almost as rude as asking how old I am!" He laughs AGAIN, giggling down the hall.


“Shut up! Christ why the fuck are you laughing?” He doesn’t know about the “reward” system. He sees the stairwell and the elevator, and he’s torn on which to take.


He'll have to explain later. Right now he's laughing at watching a guard watching porn at his post on the computer. He can see the camera feed.


“Good God,” he can’t carry him up the stairs, so he goes for the elevator to the roof. Afun little jungle plays overhead, making Colin all the more agitated.


"I have hold of the cameras for maybe two more minutes, tops. I'm slipping. My head's a mess and they're starting to notice." Ray leans against the wall of the elevator.

"Over 250, by the way." There's the weight.


“At least I can skip arm day tomorrow,” the elevator opens to the roof, and Colin more or less shoves Ray inside. He follows shortly, powering up the little jet before sighing. “C’mon, love. Give me what I need.”


Ray collapses on the floor of the jet before dragging himself into the seat.

"I lost connection. They're coming."


“Powering up,” the jet hovers in the air as Neegan and a few soldiers appear outside, firing at them from the rooftop. The engines whir before they finally take off, mostly unscathed.

“Bloody hell.”


"You're really risking your neck for an "it," buddy." Was that meant to sound that mean?


“Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing. I think it’s best you don’t distract me, yeah?”


"You're the new boss." He falls silent after another little laugh. Goddamn, he's hopeless.

"I'm no one's boss," he turns to look at Ray. "The fuck are you laughing at?"


"You're my boss now." Oh, dear. "It's kind of a type of mind control to break me. They...eheh...they do things. I don't get it really. I try though!" He does, bless him.


"I'm not your boss," Colin huffs. Where is he taking them? "I don't get how making you a giddy mess breaks you. But I guess it's what we're dealin' with."


"It's hard to explain. They mess with my brain. I do what they want, they reward me with it. I disobey, they hurt me and then reward me with it anyway. You can't understand unless you're a doctor or you've had it happen to you. It doesn't sound like it would be too bad." It is, though. Horribly. "They artificially change my mood. It's driven me a liiiiiiittle bit nuts. But that's ok." Well, when he puts it that way.


"You're a nutter. Brainwashing is one thing. Surgery is another. I just...couldn't let it happen," the jet slows a bit. Are they there? How long have they been flying? "What's your name. Your real one?"


"I've had a lot of surgery. Where were you to stop it in the past?" Ouch. He snickers like it's funny, though.

"My name's Ray."


“Probably in England. I think. Things are hazy," he looks over at Ray, his new friend. "The hell kinda name is Ray?"

"Ray Garrison. That's me." He's grinning, still. "I think."

"You don't know?"


"No. But it doesn't really matter. That's who I chose to be, so that's who I am."


"You have a lot of self for a machine." The jet touches down.


"I know." He feels like he's about to pass out. He rubs at his forehead and exhales as the giddiness finally starts to thin out.


"C'mon, wake up," Ninjak slips from the pilots seat and yanks up Ray, heading to the open door. "What's the wake up protocol?"


"I'm awake." He whines and stands up, feeling weak but better. "Were even are we?"


"King's Castle. My house," off goes his mask again. "Under the radar. Unless you know it, it's impossible to find."

"You brought me to your HOUSE? Please don't turn out to be like Dr. K, please don't turn to be like Dr. K." What's this, now?

"I really don't want to sleep with you, please do not even ask." Um. He snorts in laughter again and staggers a few steps before pausing, half bent over with his hands on his knees, to regain his balance.


"Sod off. I'm not interested in that, you..." he almost says something rude, but he understands where Ray is coming from. "I'm not...gonna do that. Alright?"


"Okay. I'll trust you on that." That was a legitimate concern, apparently. He looks relieved.


"Come on," he leads the way inside his lavishly furnished castle. It's old, but clearly Ninjak is rich of he has a place so big. Slowly he slips off his outfit, content in just a shirt and pants for now. He's just odd all out. "Find a place to sleep. I'll figure out what to do with you later."


"Yes, sir." Ray is a bit overwhelmed, staring at his surroundings like he's never been in a place like this before. Maybe he hasn't. He stands there awkwardly for a moment before padding- still barefoot- towards a couch. He hesitates. What if he bleeds on the thing? Left to his own devices, he's probably going to sleep on the goddamn floor.


“Don’t call me sir,” he sounds exhausted. Colin heads upstairs to rest himself. He’s had to carry a VERY heavy man several times and he’s just plan out of it. He doesn’t come down for another four hours.


"Yes, si- yes." That's weird. Why does his new boss not want that? When Colin's gone, Ray plops down on the floor and passes out nearly immediately.