Chapter 3. Joe tells Phoenix of his adventure.
Chapter 3 - Not an Appropriate Bedtime Story
It was November 11th. From the moment they called me in for briefing, a sense of foreboding filled me.
It sounded simple. It was a get in, pick up some important papers, and get-the-heck-out-before-the-building-blows-up type of mission. I'd done thousands of these without a problem.
But from the beginning, I had a sick feeling about this mission.
They shipped me off too Tokyo to collect master plans for a nuclear missile. I get in no problem. The plan was to intercept the papers as they were carried to a new location.
But the papers weren't the problem.
The problem, was that the Japanese had captured Tory Arrow.
Arrow was the third successful mutant created. Her being captured... was not a good thing.
I had two options- take the plans and get out of there before the building blows up, or rescue her in under fifteen minutes. Of course, I chose the harder path.
She was bound in chains, blindfolded, and cuffed to two guards standing on either side of her. Eight other heavily armed soldiers marched along them.
I had only my wits, three shots left in my gun, a dagger, and my fighting abilities. So naturally, I attacked.
Two were out cold before the rest realized what was happening. I shot one in the hip, another in the knee, and things went downhill from there.
Bullets were flying. No way I was going to get out of here without gaining a couple of bullet holes. I went into hand-to-hand combat with a soldier built like a tank. He didn't last long. I dislocated an arm, kicked a guy in the head, and then fire ripped through my side.
I was hit, and I wasn't going to last long.
I tackled the guy with the dislocated arm, sending him tumbling off the catwalk.
There were three left- two handcuffed to Arrow, and a ruthless looking dude with a rifle raised to his shoulder, aimed point-blank at my head.
I put my hands up in surrender. For a minute, no one moved. Then, slowly, the last free guard stepped behind me, slipping out a dagger and placing it at the back of my neck.
He looked familiar; I was pretty sure he was some German assassin. German, though? What did that mean?
My blood was pooling on the ground and my mind was hazy.
I didn't have much longer.
“So, Germany and Japan, huh? How's that working for you guys?” I said, forcing a lazy tone into my voice.
The assassin behind me laughed- a cruel, nasty sound. “Not bad. Well enough that you Americans will soon be in the dumps.” He sneered.
“Oh, really? 'Cause last I checked, you were both in a fetal position last year... what was your name? Frankie Wiener?”
Frankie snarled and dug the blade into my skin. “Think your funny, huh? You'll be thinking differently once I’m done with you.”
I could practically hear the bomb ticking down.
“Oh, I don't know. I thought... well, never mind.” I said nonchalantly.
“What? Thought what?”
I shrugged, the motion shooting a wave of agony through my body. “Just thought... maybe instead of torturing me, you and my Uncle could maybe get together and... make some hotdogs.”
I could feel the temperature of his body rise, his hand shake in anger.
“What do you think, Arrow?” I asked. I needed to make sure she knew she was being rescued... pathetic job I was doing of it or not.
She was quiet for a second. “I think they would make quite the team.” she said. “My grandmother might have a few recipes they could borrow.”
Frankie roared in anger.
As fast as my aching body and dizzy mind would allow, I slammed my elbow into his jaw and flipped over his head. An instant later, he's sprawled face down on the floor, my dagger sunk deep into his shoulder.
He's down, and I’m so dizzy there are now twice as many guards and two captives.
I staggered forward a step and slid to my knees, my vision dancing black and white, side still gushing blood.
“Now would be a good time to do something.” I whispered hoarsely.
Arrow didn't disappoint.
She was blindfolded, handcuffed to two guards, and bound in chains waist to shoulders.
Not really many options, so she pulled a classic and threw her weight to the ground, slamming herself flat. The guards, caught unaware, were yanked together and clunked heads in the center. (Classic, right? Told you so.)
It was suddenly quiet, the silence broken only by my rough breaths and the trickle of blood.
I pressed a hand to my side. If I didn't stop the blood flow, I was dead meat. But I only had a few minutes to get us both out of here, so it would have to wait.
I sucked in a breath and reached down into my last preserves of strength. Curling a hand around the hilt of my dagger and pulling it out, I forced myself to my feet and staggered over to Arrow.
She stood, as tense and straight as a wooden plank as I cut off her blindfold. When it fell away, she blinked.
“Who are you?” She asked as I started unraveling her chains.
“Joe Tilton. I work for the SSIF.” (Secret Services and Intelligent Forces) The chains slithered to the ground. “Any ideas on how to get these handcuffs off?”
“Keys in the right guards pocket.”
I drew out the key and talked as I freed her. “Buildings going to blow in four minutes. Coppers waiting at the East park. I need you to grab that briefcase behind the pole...” I winced as a another wave of pain rolled through my body.
Arrow glanced down at me. “You're hurt.”
“Yeah. It happens every once and awhile.” I tried to keep the sarcastic edge out of my voice. Though she was older than me, she was a rookie to this type of thing.
There was a clank as the last chain fell.
Arrow immediately strode to the briefcase and picked it up. “You know how to get out-”
She stopped mid-sentence when my eyes locked onto something behind her.
A guard had rounded the corner 20 feet behind her and had his rifle raised to his shoulder.
I didn't have to think, just flicked my wrist and sent the dagger spinning by Arrow and into the guards thigh.
“Lets get out of here” I said. “Before we're overrun.”
Too late. Soldiers poured around the corner, determination shining fiercely in their slanted eyes.
We turned and did the logical thing- run.
Except running with a gaping hole in your side and fifty % of your blood on the floor is nearly impossible.
I didn't make it far.
Arrow stopped. “Get on.” she said.
I shake my head. “No. They'll catch us both. Take the briefcase and get out of here.”
She opened her mouth to protest but I cut her off and started giving directions.
The first guards rounded the corner as I pressed my gun into her hand. It only had one shot, but better than nothing.
“Go!” I yelled.
She hesitated, then whipped around and sprinted down the hall.
I shot up a prayer that she makes it out, and turned to face that lovely sight of a gun barrel in my face.
“Hands behind your back.”
I obeyed, and a pair of handcuffs are snapped over my wrists.
Someone behind me, probably an officer, said, “That’s a mutant there. Give 'im and extra pair.”
Black spots were dancing in my vision. My breaths were coming in short and shallow.
The officer behind me stepped where I could (sort of) see him. He looked familiar, but I couldn't place him- mind was too foggy.
“Joe Tilton...” He said, my name sounding foreign on his Japanese tongue. “What brings my little kitty-boy to Tokyo?”
“Don't you wish you knew.” I said, and blacked out.
The first thing that hit me when I awoke- it was cold, and it was dark.
The second was pain. Horrible, body racking pain that felt like my veins were on fire and my guts were turned inside out (gross, I know).
I laid there for a moment, pulling myself together, assessing my surroundings.
I was in a freezing, bare stone cell, chained to the wall. The only opening was an iron barred door. I was shirtless and barefoot, alone, wounded, and freezing to death.
As the pain slowly resided, I rose to a sitting position and leaned against the wall. The stone was cold, ice cold.
I tentatively pressed a hand to my side, which was sloppily wrapped in rags. With fumbling fingers, I tore the rags away. A nasty bruise surrounded the eleven stitches, and luckily, it didn't look infected. From the way it was healing, I guessed I had been unconscious for... nearly a week.
I closed my eyes. This sucked. Sometimes, I wondered what would have happened if my parents hadn't left, if I hadn't been left to my crazy Uncle Quin. If that needle hadn't plunged into my bloodstream and taken over my system, turning me into something... else.
A shrill, earsplitting bell shook me back to reality.
I tensed. Whatever that meant, it couldn't be good (I was right- for some reason, I usually am when it comes to unpleasant things).
The door opened, and guess who walked in? My good ole pal, Frank Weinster, AKA Frankie Wiener.
I started to surge up, only to be yanked back down by the tight chains securing me to the wall.
Weinster smiled cruelly. “Can't get up, Cat boy?” He had a SR 556 leaning on his shoulder.
I let a smooth mask fall over my face and tipped my head back, studying him coldly. “It's a little hard to do, chained to a wall, don't you think?” I replied, letting a sarcastic edge creep into my voice.
There was a moment of silence, then he knelt in front of me. I met his glaring eyes coolly.
I sensed it before I saw it- a flash of movement to my left, and I whipped my head to the side. Weinster swore when the rifle he swung at me clattered uselessly against the wall.
“Fast,” I said, smirking, “But never fast enough.”
His eyes narrowed, probably trying to register that I had just insulted him. Finally, he said, “You won't be so cocky when we're done with you, and your secrets are in our hands.”
I gave a short laugh. “My secrets die with me, as they say.” But inside, a cold pit of fear is forming.
He snapped handcuffs on my feet and wrists, unlocked the chains, and yanked me to my feet.
“Get moving, Tilton,” he growled, shoving the point of his rifle in between my shoulder blades.
Hissing in pain, I shuffled toward the door.
I knew what was ahead. And I was prepared.
I'd meant what I said, about my secrets dying with me.