|Genre:||Drama, Action, Adventure, Scifi|
|Created by:||WikiBuilder1147, K6ka and OpelSpeedster|
|Original run:||4 - 7 October 2014|
Assault is the ninth episode of the Revolution series by WikiBuilder1147, and . It depicts the adventures of a group of youngsters as they fight against the oppressive regime under which they live their lives in constant scrutiny and fear.
Bullets. Everywhere. Small, lethal projectiles flew like volatile birds back and forth across the battlefield, hitting their targets sometimes with deadly precision. Artillery fire rang out as whole companies of soldiers and entire buildings were wiped out instantly. Explosions wracked the scene. Shouts and screams could be heard all over the combat zone.
A croupier stick pushed a small figure depicting an artillery unit up across a map of Bridgeport.
"We'll send in our mobile artillery through the city," General Harry Miller proposed, "and once the main defences have been wiped out, the infantry will come in to mop up any remaining resistance."
"But sir," Lieutenant-General Benjamin Faulkner protested. "I think it'd be a lot better if we send in the infantry directly behind the artillery. Our mobile units would be able to provide cover for the troops." He used his stick to push an infantry figure directly behind the artillery unit.
Major-General Miami Hodgson stood beside Ben silently, staring blankly at the map before her.
"I agree," Lieutenant-General Daniel Geraldton concurred. "Lieutenant-General Faulkner's strategy is sound. If we send in infantry at the same time as the mobile units, the soldiers could run up behind the jeeps, hidden behind them. The jeeps would provide cover and therefore this approach would be much safer and more efficient."
There was a short moment of silence. Harry rubbed his chin with his hand. He hadn't shaved for some time, so his stubble had slowly transformed into a short, black beard.
Harry finally nodded. "Yeah, that's a good idea." The other generals around him sighed with relief.
Ben approached Colonel Alex Townsend. The two watched as a squad pushed a bogey shell into a cannon.
"BRACE!" cried the commander. The cannon's barrel shot backwards as it fired the shell into the woods.
Alex turned to Ben. "Good morning, sir." He saluted Ben. Ben saluted back.
"I really have to get used to this," Ben mumbled. Alex laughed.
"Don't worry Be-- er…sir," Alex said. "It's just a hierarchy. When this is all over, I can call you by name again." Ben and Alex both burst into laughter. Alex then noticed that there were no further loud noises coming from the cannon.
"Did I give you permission to stop firing, gentlemen?" he snapped.
"No sir!" cried the commander.
Ben observed the squad as they resumed pushing shells into the cannon before covering their ears as the weapon fired the projectile into the distance. Then, he frowned.
"A few of them look a bit…pale."
"They say they don't feel too good," Alex replied. "But they'll pull through. No biggie. Probably just a small bug going around, that's all."
Ben nodded in consideration. "Well, I'll leave you to it, Colonel Townsend."
"With pleasure, sir," Alex saluted again. Ben saluted back before turning the other way and walking off.
As he walked past other kids, he noticed a few of them were quite washed out too. This had to be more than a small bug. He approached another boy preparing his belongings.
"Hey, soldier," Ben said.
"Good morning, sir," the boy saluted. Ben waved his hand uncaringly.
"No, no, put that hand down," Ben said. "We're both off duty. Just call me Ben, hey?"
"Err…," the boy was clearly confused. Then he stuck his hand out. Ben shook it. "Private Thomas Rainer. 5th Artillery Squadron."
"Glad to meet you, Tom," Ben replied. He smiled. Tom eventually found his courage and smiled back. Then, Ben took a seat next to him.
"So, Tom," Ben said. "How're things going for you? You settling in alright?"
"Yeah, I guess," Tom carefully removed a photo frame from his shoulder bag. "I miss my family though. I hope they'll be alright."
Ben patted Tom's back in sympathy. "I'm sure they're fine. They'll just be a bit worried, that's all."
The two then stared blankly into the distance, watching the sun approach its apex.
"Say," Ben said after a short period of silence. "Have you seen any…pale folks around lately?"
"Yeah," Tom replied. "A few of my roommates have been complaining about headaches and stuff. A few of them have even said their crap looks weird."
"Hmm," Ben mumbled in contemplation. "Okay, I should go now. Nice to meet you, soldier." He stood up to leave. Tom stood as well and saluted. Both smiled. Ben walked away.
He continued his inspection of the camp grounds. many walked past him. Some saluted. He quickly saluted back. More still were ashen-faced.
"Good morning, sir," a girl said to him.
"Morning," Ben nodded back. They walked past each other. The girl then started groaning in pain, clutching her stomach. She fell onto her knees. Ben, along with several others, turned instantly to help her.
"Are you alright?" Ben asked in panic. The girl put a hand up to stop Ben and any others coming close to her. Her body arched forward. She coughed several times before vomiting violently. The crowd began screaming in disgust. The girl stopped. Her breathing was quick and slightly laboured. She coughed again, then started retching all over again.
Ben turned to the nearest person. "Go to sickbay and get the Doctor and a gurney here. Hurry!" A man nodded and ran off towards sickbay.
When the man returned with Doctor Renhald, Renhald approached the girl slowly, taking several deep breaths before diving in to assist her.
"Are you feeling alright now?" the Doctor asked her. She nodded. Then she started gagging. Renhald patted her back gently.
"It's okay. We'll take you to sickbay." Renhald said. He beckoned forth several medics carrying a gurney. They loaded the girl onto it before lifting it and taking it back to sickbay.
"This is bad," Renhald sighed. "There've already been ten cases of this today." He shook his head before walking after his medics.
"All senior officers, please report to sickbay immediately," the voice of Doctor Renhald came over the loudspeaker. Ben opened his eyes. He felt for his alarm clock instinctually but it wasn't there. Then he remembered. He looked at his watch.
Five-thirty in the morning.
"Damn it," he muttered as he rose out of bed. Miami got up as well. He quickly put his uniform on over his pyjamas. She did the same. Then they left the room, heading for sickbay.
As it was near the end of autumn, the nights had gotten longer, and much colder. Ben shivered and put his hands over their counterparts' forearms and rubbed them vigorously in an attempt to produce heat. Miami simply walked. Their breaths crystallised in the early morning air.
When the duo finally reached sickbay, they found all the other senior officers were already assembled.
"Sorry we're late," Ben said. He and Miami joined their fellow soldiers, standing next to Alex, who was also there. Doctor Renhald began to speak.
"While some of you were having your beauty sleep," Renhald began, "I spent the night analysing these patients, trying to identify the sickness that is afflicting them."
"And what did you find, Doctor?" Harry asked.
Renhald bowed his head. "Let's just say," he said quietly. "I don't have very good news."
Ben and Alex looked glanced at each other in fear.
"I took samples of each patient's blood and tested them," the Doctor explained. "What I found, were populations of bacteria known as Vibrio cholerae."
"Vibrio cholerae?" Harry said.
"Vibrio cholerae is the bacterium that causes cholera, hence the name," Renhald replied. "I went to check our water tank, and I found that the water there is chockfull of these little devils. I also analysed the environment of this area."
"And?" Daniel Geraldton spoke up.
The Doctor gulped. "There is absolutely no trace of V cholerae in the area. Therefore, it can only mean one thing."
"What?" Ben gasped anxiously. Tension in the room was high.
"The presence of the bacteria in the water was not an accident," said Doctor Renhald. "Someone is trying to kill us."
"Thank you, Corporal," said Commander Marion Mars. "You may leave now." A 15-year-old boy stood up and left the room. Ben watched as the boy opened the door, exited, and closed it again. Mars moved her head to the microphone.
"Private Thomas Rainer, please report to Interrogation Chamber 12 for questioning," she said in her distinctively Londoner accent. A few minutes later, Tom entered the room and saluted before taking a seat.
"Thank you for coming, Private," Mars said, looking Tom straight in the eye.
"At your command, ma'am," Tom replied.
Ben announced Tom's details. "Rainer, Thomas. Age: 12 years 8 months. Service rank: Private. Position: Firing officer. Current assignment: 5th Artillery Squadron."
"As a member of the 5th Artillery Squadron, you regularly train near the camp's water tank, am I correct?" asked Mars.
"Yes, ma'am," Tom nodded.
"And if I'm not mistaken, from your training ground you have a clear line of sight to the water tank?"
"Have you recently, by any chance, seen any shady-looking figures moving near the water tank?"
There was a short silence while Tom thought over the question.
"No, ma'am," he said finally.
"Are you absolutely sure?"
Tom lay back in his chair slightly, putting his hand over his mouth in contemplation.
"Take all the time you need to think," Mars said. Ben looked at the boy as the gears clicked in his mind.
After a period of silence, he then said, "Yes, now I remember," he said. "I was off-duty, and I was going to the bathroom. The only way to the closest one at the time was passing by the water tank."
"Then I saw another soldier squatting and…doing…I don't know what," Tom said. "I asked him what he was doing, and he said that he was…making repairs to the tank."
"I think we should get some senior officers in here," Mars finally said. She moved to the microphone. "Lieutenant-General Daniel Geraldton, Major-General Miami Hodgson, General Harry Miller, please report to Interrogation Chamber 12 for questioning."
She turned back to Tom. "Did you, by chance, happen to get this person's name?"
Tom thought over the question again. He raised his head to look at Mars. "I looked at his identification card."
Tom never finished his sentence. His forehead burst with blood and his body fell back with force. His chair collapsed with him. His eyes rolled up and blood began to pool on the floor.
Mars rushed to the microphone. "MEDIC!" she screamed. "MEDIC!" After composing herself, she spoke again. "Red alert! Red alert! I want this whole camp on lockdown immediately! We have a killer on the loose!" Most of the lights in the room began to flash red, and a klaxon began bleeping away. Daniel, Miami and Harry entered the room, followed quickly by members of the medical team. Miami put her hands over her mouth in shock. Some medics pushed in and someone removed a scanner and examined Tom's body.
A unending, monotonous beep.
"Brain activity: None. Pulse: None. Heartbeat: None," the medic said. He shook his head. "There's a bullet lodged in his cerebral cortex. I'm afraid brain death occurred instantly after he was shot."
Miami broke down completely, sobbing uncontrollably. Ben rushed to her aid. He put her arms around her.
"Calm down, shhh," he whispered gently in an effort to console his friend. "Shhh."
"We are gathered here today to pay our last respects to Private Thomas Rainer of the Liberation Army's 5th Artillery Squadron," the director began. "While he never saw combat, he was a bright, intelligent child and he will always be remembered by his friends and family." He never bothered to mention the fact that Tom's parents didn't know that he had died yet.
When the attendants had adjourned two hours later, Ben and Miami were sitting on Miami's bed. Miami continued to sob, and Ben kept trying to comfort her.
"This is all my fault," she cried. "Everyone's dying because of me."
"No, they're not," Ben replied. "You had nothing to do with Tom's death. Or the cholera problem."
"I let them die." Her head turned towards his. "They suffered because of me."
"Who? Who're you talking about?"
Her eyes refilled and washed her face down with a fresh torrent of tears. She put her hands over a face and rested her elbows on her thighs. Ben now understood what she was getting at.
"No," Ben said. "It's not your fault. You can't be responsible for the deaths of…" He trailed off. He sighed.
"I…I failed," Miami whispered. "I failed my family. My brother. I failed…I'm…worthless."
"Now, don't you dare say that!" Ben stood up and faced his friend. "Look at me!" She slowly raised her head.
"LOOK AT ME!" he screamed. He looked at her straight in the eye.
"You are not worthless!" Ben said. "You are Miami Hodgson, the smartest girl I know. You are not some poor useless vegetable that sits there day and night crying. You're not being you, you're--"
Intense pain suddenly shot through his head.
"Ben!" Miami cried, suddenly snapping out of her trance. She rushed to his side.
"Are you okay, Ben?" she asked. Ben fell to his knees, holding his head in agony.
KILL HER! the voice shouted. Ben tried as hard as he could to resist. His hand began moving towards the sheathed knife clipped onto his belt.
"Ben? Are you okay?" Miami asked again.
SHE MUST DIE! KILL THE GIRL! the voice screamed, almost spitting the words out into his neural pathways. Ben's uncontrollable body unsheathed the knife and attempted to stab Miami. She dodged it and the knife slashed through air. Out of instinct, the girl then socked Ben in the side of his head. He fell to the ground, unconscious.
When Ben finally awoke, he found Miami, Alex, Harry, Daniel and Doctor Renhald all standing around him. He tried to sit up, but found himself restrained to his bed.
"Wha…" Ben stuttered. "What…what happened?" His mind completely refused to assist him to get his bearings. Then he felt the burning pain on his right cheek.
"Sorry, Lieutenant-General," Renhald replied. "You're locked onto the bed because you attempted to murder Major-General Hodgson."
"Why…why would I do that?" Ben exclaimed. "Miami's my best friend."
"We know that," Renhald said. "We also know you were placed in a reeducation module at least once. Miami got lucky - she snapped out of it when…" He trailed off.
"Err…," he continued. "But for you, it's gonna be a bit harder. We're going to try to reverse it. That's why you have electrodes all over your head."
Ben felt around his forehead. There were wires stuck onto it, as well as the back of his neck.
"Okay. Shall we begin?" Renhald declared. Miami smiled at Ben before stepping back along with the other officers so that the medics could get to work.
"Neural patterns stable. Heartbeat stable. Ready to begin procedure," one of the surgeons said. Another put an oxygen mask over Ben's face. Needles punctured his arms as they delivered liquids into his bloodstream.
"Initiating upload of neural patterns now," Renhald said. Ben felt a short, sharp shock of pain running through his skull, then light-headedness. As if his mind were floating away from his body…
When Ben came to for the second time, he found himself floating in…nowhere. A 3D grid stretched out before him, behind him - in all directions.
A voice from no particular source called out to him, "Lieutenant-General Faulkner, can you hear me?" It was Renhald.
It took several seconds to find his voice. "Yes, Doctor."
"Good. Your brain has been uploaded onto this computer," said the Doctor. "Don't worry - while your mind is virtually outside of your body, all your other organs are functioning normally. It is from here that we will attempt to find the source of the foreign directives and eliminate it. Then your edited neural patterns will be downloaded back into your body. Did you get that?"
"Beginning procedure now."
He felt a little tingly as Doctor Renhald began accessing his neural pathways as if he were browsing through a computer hard drive.
"Heart rate rising," said one of Renhald's assistants. "Blood pressure stable."
"Wait a minute," Doctor Renhald muttered. "Hang on in there."
For almost an hour, the Doctor continued to search through Ben's mind. Throughout that time Ben's body functions became increasingly chaotic. Miami covered her mouth in anxiety lest she start screaming. Alex held his arm around her. Harry looked on in anticipation. Daniel did the same.
An alarm went off. "Doctor! We're losing him!" Ben began feeling light-headed again.
Ben's breathing sped up. His heart rate increased exponentially.
"Blood pressure dropping!" a surgeon screamed. "We need to abandon the procedure now! We must download his brain back into his body before he dies!"
"Almost there!" Renhald said.
"Doctor! Hurry! His heart's already stopped!"
Renhald gave up and began downloading Ben's brain. Ben felt he was dematerialising, and then he lapsed into unconsciousness.
A surgeon rushed to the defibrillator. Other surgeons unbuttoned Ben's shirt and exposed his chest. Ben's chest was cleaned of sweat and other debris. The surgeons then began attempts to restart Ben's heart.
"200 Joules! Charged! Stand clear!"
"1, 2, 3…"
Electricity surged into Ben's chest. His chest shot upwards, his body arching towards the ceiling, then smashed back down onto his bed.
"Stand clear. Do not touch patient. Analysing rhythm," said the voice of the defibrillator monitor.
"Check pulse. If there is no pulse, initiate CPR." The surgeons rushed in.
"No pulse," they said.
"200 Joules! Charged! Stand clear!"
"1, 2, 3!"
For the second time, Ben's body spasmed as the electric pulse blasted into him. There was silence for several seconds. Then, as if someone had pulled a switch, Ben's heart began to awaken. Air started rushing into his lungs again. His chest rose and fell as his breathed.
"Heart rate stabilising!"
"Alright. He's gonna be okay. He's gonna be okay."
Ben opened his eyes slowly. His head slowly turned to face his friends. "I'm gonna be okay." The restraints were lifted, and he sat up. Miami sprinted to him and the two hugged.
"I was so worried," Miami said, tears running down and saturating Ben's shoulder.
"Well, at least you're crying about something else now," Ben quipped quietly.
When Ben and Miami broke their embrace, she gave him a light punch.
"That was for the joke," she laughed as she wiped her tears away. "Totally not funny."
After several days Ben was discharged from sickbay, as were the other patients afflicted with cholera. Corporal Philip Henderson, the only person who happened to be named Philip in the camp, was hunted down and imprisoned, awaiting court-martial.
Ben and Miami entered the prison block of the camp. They stopped before Corporal Henderson's cell.
Ben stared angrily at man. He devoted all his brainpower to displaying his deep hatred for the traitor. The murderer. The killer who, had he succeeded, would have committed genocide of devastating proportions. Miami put her hand on his shoulder in sympathy and looked on into the cell, trying as hard as she could to stay neutral, lest she turn into the beast she feared from the emotional strain, and tear him to pieces.
Ben put no effort into such a venture. He continued to glare at the quisling who brutally and shamelessly butchered Private Thomas Rainer, who was simply doing the right thing.
"God damn you," Ben growled through the screen standing between him and the prisoner. He spat onto the floor. "May you burn in hell for eternity." He left the room. Miami, left alone, allowed herself a short glare at the betrayer before walking off, attempting to console herself as she went.