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September 05, 2015

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September 05, 2015

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Darsh Belmont (NPC Stories)

The squadron of fighter jets screeched across the sky headed to their destination.  Their orders were clear.  They were to destroy the bug presence no matter the cost.  The method chosen by the general in charge was to carpet bomb the entire city of Las Vegas.  The captain of the squadron had tried to fight the order, but he was unsuccessful.  The general had been firm in his order.

After their first run across the city, a number of the flying bugs took to the sky.  The squadron was forced to fight the bugs in air to air combat.  To make matters worse, two of the bugs possessed the fighter jets and used them against their own comrades.  The members of the squadron were forced to shoot down their fellow pilots in order to kill the bugs that were contained within the fighter jet.

2nd Lt. Pilan was the first to go in this way.  She was still young.  Her family waited back for her at the base.  She began to cry as she realized that she would never see her family again and that her two year old daughter would be forced to grow up without a mother.  She knew she was powerless to do anything.  There were only two options, either she would shoot down her own men or they would shoot her down.  Though she did not want to die, she was glad when her captain shot her down.

Captain Ortese made it clear to all the others that it was his job to shoot down those that had lost control of their fighter jets.  He didn't want any of the other troops to suffer from the guilt.  He was in charge and the burden was his alone to bear.  It was hard for him to do, but he knew that it was necessary.  Half of the squadron was lost in that battle.

Once the air battle was finished, Captain Ortese ordered the remainder of the pilots to continue the bombing runs.  On the final pass, 2nd Lt. Seran radioed the captain.  Captain Ortese listened as the Lt. Seran spoke, "Did you ever see the old black and white movie Fail Safe?"

Captain Ortese responded, "Yeah, I did once."  His voice was low and he sounded depressed.  He knew what Lt. Seran was saying.  "Lt…" the captain paused for a moment, "…may you be at peace."  The radio signal broke off as Lt. Seran dropped altitude and held position near ground level.

Captain Ortese received a second radio signal from his left wingman, "What is going on, captain?  Lt. Seran just broke formation."

He responded, "Continue with the bombing."

The wingman questioned, "Sir?"

Captain Ortese reminded him of their orders, "We are to succeed at any cost.  So continue."

The wingman radioed back, "Aye sir."

The remainder of the squadron released their missiles.  The missiles hit the ground and demolished not only the rest of the city, but also Lt. Seran.  Captain Ortese opened a radio communication to the entire squadron, "Attention, 2nd Lt. Seran suffered engine problems and was forced to take a low altitude.  Though he died, he saw his mission through to the end."

The wingman radioed back, "But, sir…"

Captain Ortese did not wait for the wingman to finish, "Is that understood?"  Though it was a question, the way he barked it made it seem more like a statement.  It was clear that he was not in the mood to argue.  He knew that Lt. Seran had intentionally killed himself.  But he understood how the lieutenant felt.  He was not prepared to let him be dishonored.  Lt. Seran followed his orders through until the end.  Though in the end, his heart could not bear the weight of the crimes against humanity that he had just committed.

 

*****

 

General Marques stormed into the control room of the Area 51 base.  He was clearly furious and everyone made sure to stay out of his way.  Four soldiers walked behind him.  From the "MP" written on their arm bands, it was clear they were a part of the military police.

The Four Star General Marques wasted no time in coming up to General Gebb, only a two star general.  General Marques yelled, "What the Hell did you think you were doing?!"

General Gebb looked at Marques, "If we were going to keep the security of this base, we needed to eliminate any bug threat in the area.  And let's face it; a ground attack just wouldn't have worked.  The bugs are too damned strong.  I did what I had to do."

"Gebb, this isn't as simple as destroying the bugs.  You killed a city full of people!  There is no excuse for that."

"Those people were already dead the moment the bugs entered that city.  I did them a favor by making it quick."

"That was not your decision to make.  From this moment forward, you are relieved of command and confined to quarters until a formal court marshal can be held."  General Marques looks at the MPs next to him.  "Get him out of my site."  The contempt in the voice of General Marques was clear as he spoke.

General Gebb shouted, "You can't do that!  I'm in charge of this base."

There was cold look in the eye of General Marques as he stared at General Gebb.  Everyone watching felt a chill up their spine as they looked at him.  Marques addressed the entire room, "If there is anyone here who feels that General Gebb acted in good conscious then speak now."

The room stood silent.  General Marques turned back to General Gebb, "It seems that you have no allies here."

The MPs took General Gebb by the arms.  General Gebb tried to struggle free, but the MPs were too strong.  They took him out of the control room screaming.  No one spoke.  There was just an awkward silence.

 

*****

 

A jeep drove through the Nevada desert at high speeds, 1st Lt. Gebb was at the wheel.  His neck still ached from his encounter with the 13 year old boy they found half dead in the desert.  He was still fuming over the incident.  A part of him wished that they had just left the boy to die.  He knew it was wrong, but he couldn't help the way he felt.

Corporal Daniels was in the back looking after the boy while Colonel Farrell stood quiet and staring off into the distance.  Daniels turned to the colonel and asked, "Sir, do you mind me asking what your interest in the boy is?"

The colonel responded simply, "The boy was dying.  It was only right to rescue him."

Corporal Daniels continued, "Pardon me saying so, sir, but that doesn't sound like the entire truth.  Don't get me wrong, saving the boys life is important, but something about the way you looked at him makes me think there is something more."  The colonel did not respond.  The corporal took the cue and did not ask more about it.

Colonel Farrell turned his head and looked at the boy.  Though he did not say anything, he did take an extra interest in the boy outside of humanitarian reasons.  He noticed that even though the boy was half dead, he was able to give Daniels a decent fight.  And even more interesting than that, he was able to avoid the attack of Gebb without ever looking, and then countered it with such accuracy to take him down.  Colonel Farrell realized that there was something unusual about the boy.  He was hoping that this unusual nature could be of use in fighting the bugs.

Lt. Gebb continued to drive at top speeds back to the base.  The reason for this was not only because reaching the base quickly was necessary to save the boy's life, but it was also driven by anger.  He had still been furious about the incident, but that anger only grew more from what he had just heard.

He had listened to the conversation between the corporal and colonel.  Even more interesting, he realized he was able to hear the thoughts going through the colonel's mind.  He wasn't sure of how he was capable of this, but he did know that the thoughts of the colonel troubled him.

 

*****

 

Colonel Farrell and Doctor McKinley stared at Darsh through a two-sided mirror.  The colonel started, "So why is it you called me here?"

The doctor looked at the colonel and replied, "Sir, how much do you know about this boy?"

"Very little I'm afraid.  I've only been training him for a month.  Though he's picking it up quickly, he still hasn't revealed much about his past."

"Well sir, after giving him the standard tests, I've been observing him.  He has shown an amazing adaptability factor.  It is most likely this factor that allowed him to survive as long as he did in the desert.  It seems to have given him slightly above average human traits.

"I'm still unsure if it applies to all areas of knowledge, but from what I have seen, he is able to pick up different subject matters rather quickly.  Though I must confess he seems to possess an amazing aptitude for the field of Biology."

The colonel looked intrigued.  "Biology you say?  That could prove useful.  Make sure he studies more in this field."

"Sir, any reason in particular?"

"As of yet, we still don't know very much about the bugs.  If this boy is truly able to become what I think he can, then he may have the chance to do some research on them.  Perhaps he'll be able to give us some insight."

The doctor bowed.  "Yes, sir, I will see to it personally."

Colonel Farrell looked at Darsh through the two-sided mirror.  His eyes fixed on the 13 year old boy sitting in the other room.  It seemed as if the colonel was trying to peer into the very soul of Darsh.  He said to lowly, "Let's see your true potential."

 

*****

 

Captain Irons walked into the room with Doctor McKinley.  He wasted no time in asking, "Tell me doctor, is Darsh one of these psychics?"

Doctor McKinley responded, "To be honest, sir, I'm not sure yet.  However, I do believe that he is."

"You're 'not sure'?  You 'believe'?  These are not the terms I suspected to hear from you doctor.  I was hoping for something more definite by now.  It's been three days since you took the tests."

"Yes, I know, sir.  But his brainwaves are different…even to those of psychics."  Doctor McKinley picked up a paper off of his deck and handed it to the captain.  "See this marks here," the doctor continued as he pointed to some marks on the paper.  "They are similar to the psychic waves, but they are different from any that I have ever seen before.  And then these here," he pointed to more marks on the paper.  "It is almost as if there is a second set of brainwaves there.  I can't explain it."

Captain Irons continued to look over the paper.  "Then I guess the only option we have is to test him.  If he is one of these psychics, then he'll be able to pilot one of them."

"So are you going to let him try to pilot the EGL-0?"

Captain Irons gave the doctor a strange look, "We'll see."

"So I take it you are still troubled by his reaction to it last time."

The captain breathed deeply.  "It has caused me to become hesitant.  I respect the wisdom of Colonel Farrell, but I'm not sure if that would be the right decision yet.  He almost went mad the first time he touched it, there is no telling what would happen if he actually piloted the thing."

"You may be right.  Then again, you may be end up limiting him.  You and I both know our situation with the bugs.  Perhaps this is not the time to be cautious."

Captain Irons did not seem happy with what the doctor had to say.  But despite his dislike for it, he had to admit that the words made sense.  With the way the war had been going, it was quite clear that being safe was not going to win it.  It was time to take risks.  And though he didn't like it; that meant that he would have to give Darsh the chance to pilot the EGL-0.

 

*****

 

General Marques stared across his desk at the recently promoted Major Gebb.  On his desk was a psychological report on Darsh Belmont from Doctor Helen Suthers, the resident psychiatrist on the base.  The report wasn't in favor of the young pilot.

Major Gebb continued his complaint, "Sir, I don't believe that Belmont is a fit pilot.  He should be grounded.  Captain Irons agrees with this and the recommendation from Dr. Suthers supports this opinion."

General Marques taps his finger on the file.  "I have already discussed this matter with Captain Irons.  As for the report from Dr. Suthers, tell me major, how do you know what the good doctor's recommendation was?"

Major Gebb was stunned; he didn't know how to respond at first.  He couldn't confess to having read it as it wasn't meant for him.  "Sir, it is being talked about all over the base.  It's clear to everyone that the boy is unstable."

"That boy is now 17 and has been loyal to this base for the past four years.  You must not dwell on the past, Major Gebb.  I know you suffered a great embarrassment at his hands back then.  And now he has taken your spot on the mission, but this is no time for personal vendettas."

"Sir, no offense intended, but this doesn't have a damned thing to do with what happened that day.  The fact of the matter is he is a danger to the mission.  That's not only because of his psychological problems, but also due to the fact that I am the more experienced pilot."

"True, you do have more experience.  But the fact of the matter is that when he is piloting the EGL-0, he is the better pilot.  And his responses in the simulator prove that he is a valued asset to this mission."

"Sir, he was valuable when he wasn't so afraid of risks.  That is what made him a good pilot.  But with the most recent development, that is a moot point.  Let's face it, ever since Colonel Farrell died, he --"

"There has been no confirmation of the colonel's death.  So let's not count him out yet."

"Sir, realistically, we know that there is no chance that the colonel is still alive.  He disappeared in the middle of bug territory during his mission.  It would take a miracle for a man to survive that."

"That may be true, major, but you don't know the colonel like I do.  I knew him long before this war with the bugs ever started.  Many of the things he accomplished could easily be classified as a miracle.  Trust me, if there is someone who could make it out, it is him.  Knowing the colonel, I wouldn't be surprised if even the other members of the squad survived."  General Marques rubbed the scar on his left wrist as he continued, "He never did like the idea of leaving people behind."

"Very well, sir, if you insist.  But that still does not change the fact that since his 'disappearance' that Belmont hasn't been the same."

"I'll concede to that fact, major.  However, the colonel had faith in him.  I'll trust in his judgment.  Whatever issues he may have, it seems he'll have to sort those out by himself.  We don't have time.  The mission starts in a few days, and my order stands.  Darsh Belmont will be one of the pilots on that mission."

Major Gebb grunted.  However, he held back his anger as he stood straight and saluted.  "Sir, I will see that Belmont is ready."