The tunnels were quiet in this section of the city. Echoing gunfire could only be heard if she stopped and listened. Like she’d be doing that anytime soon. At the moment it wasn’t exactly wise to stand still. So here she was, once again running for her life from the enemy and hoping to reach her unit before anyone else decided to reach her.
“Cee, what’s your status? Or are you lost again?” She smiled at her partner’s apparent lack of faith in her over the com link.
“You know Gate; if you had not missed the snipe shot and taken out the enemy officer like the mission originally stated, I wouldn’t have had to break rank and do it myself. So it’s technically your fault I’m in unknown territory. Can you get a fix on my location?” She came to a three way division of the tunnel and ran down the middle path. If there was one thing she knew, it was to keep away from the branches. That’s when her partner answered.
“Now I can. Stealth Team is 200 clicks down the current tunnel you're in. Think you can handle it Cee?” Sarcasm from his end was enough to slow her down to a walk and smirk.
“You should know already partner, if there’s one thing I’m good at in our unit, it’s-” She never finished as a rope net suddenly blasted from out of nowhere and threw her into the wall. It’s magnetic ends stuck to the tunnel and trapped her there, leaving the soldier to thrash helplessly against its restraints.
“Cee? Do you copy? Cee?!” Blunt force then smashed her head against the wall. The last thing she saw before her vision went blurry was a figure towering over her, staring down with a wicked smile.
“Arcee, please have a seat.” Closing the door behind her, the soldier sat stiffly in the chair across from the desk. “I apologize for summoning you at such a late hour, and for such a cause. But we have an urgent situation on our hands.” She didn’t like the way he folded his hands. Or the way his shoulders were slightly slumped as he met her eyes woefully. In return, she treaded carefully in her response.
“What is it Commander Pax?”
Blinding light from above brought her back from oblivion. She blinked unsteadily, trying to separate one image from another. Events from what had happened came back in a blur. Running down a dark tunnel, something blindsiding her into a trap, Gate on the com link… She snapped into reality and thrashed again. But the chains suspending her by the arms above the ground were secure, and in no shape to falter. She growled. “So you’re the one they call Arcee?” That voice was way too calm, and far too feminine. What she remembered as the figure from before stepped into the light to face her. It was a woman, dressed in all black with purple streaks adorning the long cloaking coat she wore. The Spider. Any soldier like her had only heard of this war criminal by reputation: as sadistic as they come. Any other soldier that had seen her never made it out alive.
“Make yourself comfortable soldier.” She glared at the wicked smile that crawled closer with each passing second. “Because you’re gonna be here a while.” And then came the agony.
“Fifteen minutes ago, I received transmission from our Northern Prison Facilities. Five of the prisoners attempted to escape.” Immediately her blood went cold. Those were the highest security facilities since the war ended. And since then, no one had ever made the attempt to escape.
“Did the prisoners succeed?” The commander neither shook his head yes or no.
“One did. The rest were killed in action by the guards.” The sickening twist in her gut gave her a grave suspicion, but she ignored it to listen. His eyes were sympathetic and bluntly honest.
“You know of whom I speak.”
“You know Arcee I have to admit, you’re rather resilient for a soldier.” It took all of her willpower not to shy away as the spider stalked around her with a knife in hand. She watched her own blood drip from the knife to the floor in fat drops. It drew her attention away from the new gashes on her shoulder blades. That’s when the spider stopped and faced her.
“In fact, no matter what I do, you’ll never crack will you?” Strength mustered from anger brought her head snapping back up to meet her with a defiant glare. The spider snickered.
“I thought so… Perhaps you’ll be more talkative when it’s not your own life at stake.” The doors behind her opened. She watched in newfound horror as a soldier she recognized was dragged to a second set of chains and hung there.
“Gate??” She whispered. Her gut twisted in a sickening spiral. It really was her partner strung up, and they were not responding.
“What did you do to him?!” She snarled in hatred as the spider stalked by him.
“Oh nothing much. That is, nothing much yet. So Arcee I will ask again: tell me the coordinates of Commander Pax’s new base. Or, well, you know what will happen next.” She thrashed harder when the spider dragged the tip of the blade against Gate’s armor.
“I don’t know the coordinates of the new base! I swear!”
The realization set in, and she felt the horror bubble in her chest.
“We’ll see about that…” A loud slash, his blood splattered on the wall. “GATE!!”
She flinched in her seat and looked down, finally unable to meet his eyes. Because this was her nightmares coming back to life.
“Arcee, I do not wish to inflict this upon you. Especially after what she has done to you in the past. But due to your extensive knowledge of The Spider and being the only one who survived in her presence, it stands to reason that you may be our only hope of bringing her to justice.” She understood these facts well and was more than capable in the field. This was her only chance to exact the revenge she’d been waiting so long for. For Gate… She sat up to look her Commander in the eyes once again, and the sudden cold depth to her would've been enough to make anyone recoil.
“So… She’s back.”