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Toxic Vendetta: Retribution
Nearing Los Angeles
It’s been six months since I’ve had these powers, and a whole year since the emergence of Infection Seven. I’m twenty-eight now, but remember being a year younger like it was yesterday.
According to the news, all of New York has been quarantined and the virus was now an epidemic. Washington, D.C. has ordered the National Guard to enter New York and eliminate everyone present in order to prevent a pandemic emergency. Luckily, most residents have been evacuated out, but I’m sure some were left behind with the Mutants. John Solars, my old scientist friend who started Infection Seven has fled towards California, which is where I’m headed now. I’m going to find him, and end this cataclysm.
Ever since our last encounter at my apartment in Long Island, and where I fought those Mutants alone, I’ve learned to control my powers, which are cutting-edge strength, speed, and a healing factor. I also appear like a normal human being, which is what I am...or used to be. My scars have healed up, and I’m back to an ordinary appearance.
Overtime, I’ve been able to control my rage. Like myself, the Mutants live on rage, which is what drives them insane. They’re still alive, just boxed up inside themselves, playing Rubik's Cube while they divide the flesh off of their prey. Killing the Mutants is the only option survivors have to protect the uninfected, since my creation of a cure was disrupted.
Realizing that I am on a flight and not stuck in the past, I peered over my shoulder at the woman next to me, who had the window seat. She was maybe in her early seventies, but could apparently manage herself on a flight alone. She was reading a Bible, flipping through pages every few minutes. The sunlight glaring through the window shined on the surface of the book. “What chapter are you on?” I asked, attempting to break the delicate silence of a plane flight.
She just stared at me for a second, suprised that someone actually spoke over the whispers of people in the front of the plane, uttering words I couldn’t clearly hear. Then, she just smiled and began talking. “Oh, I’m reading the book of Romans, chapter twelve. It is part of my daily reading plan.” She motioned her hand at me. “You look like a nice young man. Do you read the Bible?”
“No, I’ve never really been a Bible person. Although, sometimes my parents would take me to church every once-and-awhile when I was a kid. They were devout Christians.”
She smiled. “That’s nice. Do you still go to church with them?”
I exhaled deeply, then replied, “No, not anymore. They’re no longer alive.”
The lady took a breath and held it for a moment. “Oh...I’m very sorry about that, son. There are a lot of fatal diseases nowadays. They’re in a better place now.”
I turned to face forward. “Actually, they were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver.” I turned back towards the lady. She was looking at the ground, regretful for jumping to conclusions, I guess. “Oh, dear, I’m very sorry for assuming...I...didn’t mean--”
“It’s fine,” I reassured her with a smile. “We all make mistakes.”
She then nervously nodded at me, and continued reading. She traced her finger along the text, which was Romans Twelve:Nineteen. It read:
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Almost instantly after reading that verse, my mind wandered off to how John Solars started such a deadly disease. My own friend, ally, who I’ve known for years, kidnapping civilians and poisoning them. My hands clenched into fists at the thought of how Solars affected so many families. There was no space for sympathy anymore, none for forgiveness. I wanted something else. I wanted payback. But what would make me different from John if I took it?
Some coughing behind me drew my attention. There were about three people, vehemently choking, which escalated into them shaking vigorously. The commotion spread to others around them, creating an uproar of monstrous sounds. “Oh no,” I spoke aloud. “The virus is on the plane.”
Immediately, a human-turned-Mutant leaped out from its seat, which raced toward a suspecting
air marshal who equipped his handgun to fire. The Mutant came in contact with the marshal, slamming him into the side door, where they both flew out of the plane. More Mutants left their seats. The woman next to me yelled at the flight management for help.
Alarms went off, emergency doors unlocked, and windows broke open because of the brawling within the plane. I stood up from my seat, face-to-face with a Mutant, who grabbed hold of my shoulders. I striked it in the face, following through with a knee to its ribs. Crack! It hollered in pain and clawed me against my neck. I fell back, but couldn’t get to my feet because the plane wasn’t flying straight any longer…it was descending. And before I could react to the creature attempting to finish me, the plane crashed.
Fire was everywhere. Broken glass littered the aisles between chairs. Debris floated through the air like dust. This was my apartment explosion all over again. Deja vu.
I was lying on the floor next to the Mutant that attacked me. It was dead.
Blood dripped from the wounds on my neck. I punched the dead Mutant in the throat. “Thanks for the cuts, jerk,” I spoke aloud. Passengers were escaping through the emergency doors, but some were injured. The woman that was sitting beside me looked unharmed, sitting there like nothing had happened. “Are you alright?” I asked her while climbing back to my feet.
She nodded. “Yes, I’m fine, but the others…” She pointed to the cluster of people behind us, who were mostly hurt.
“Don’t worry, they’ll get out. Right now, I’m getting you out of here.” I helped her out of her seat, and then we walked out of the plane through one of the doors. The sunlight focused down on the crash site. Many of the passengers were scattered around the plane, searching for loved ones and helping others. I led the woman into an open area, which made it clear that we were in a desert.
“What is your name, young man? Because you are very nice.” Right before I was about to speak, two black SUVs screeched to a stop in front of us. Men in black business suits hopped out, each carrying an assault rifle. A lady, who looked about my age, came around the side of one of the vehicles, standing in between both SUVs. She had straight dark brown hair that reached down a little past her shoulders, and was wearing a black leather jacket with black pants. She took out a handgun and aimed it directly at me.
“Dave Greenfield,” She yelled. “step forward with your hands in the air.”
I smirked at the woman that I’d helped off of the plane, who was next to me. “Well, nice meeting you. It appears I have to go.” I walked forward with my hands above my head. Two of the suited men approached behind me, holding my arms behind my back. The lady stepped toward me. We were face-to-face. “What is this?” I asked her with a suppressed laugh. “Are these guys trying to imitate super secret spies? Because they’re doing a very bad job.”
The lady waved off the guys holding me. They backed off. “Dave Greenfield,” she began, “We are the Negative Squad, a group of top secret military operatives working under the U.S. government. Our mission is to contain potential international threats, such as the outbreak of Infection Seven. My name is Sable Eclipse, and I lead this organization, with orders from the president. This is Agent Sparks and Agent Sanderson.” She motioned towards the guys who apprehended me.
Sanderson? That sounded familiar. “Hey,” I spoke at the guy on my left. “haven’t I met you before?”
“Yeah, you broke my glasses at the guard post at Long Island.” He sounded grim, but forgiving.
“Oh, yeah, sorry about that.” Now I turned my attention towards Sable. “Aren’t you a little too young to be a government operative?” I sarcastically asked.
She retorted, “Aren’t you a little too young to be a fugitive?”
“Fugitive? What are you talking about?” My mind was blown.
“Sparks, hand me his dossier.” Agent Sparks gave Sable some papers. She flipped through them, then began reading off info on me. “Ex-scientist Dave Greenfield, A.K.A. Toxic Vendetta. Has the abilities of the Mutants, due to an accident in his lab. Used to be friends with scientist John Solars, until Solars turned into his arch-nemesis. Both people wanted by the FBI for being imminent dangers.”
I just stared at Sable, trying to intake everything.
“You see, Greenfield,” she began, “we know about everyone, about everything. We know about other possible threats, such as war criminals. But, for you specifically, we’re here to make you a deal. You are to take John Solars off of the radar, or we will take you in.”
“You want me to kill him?” I asked. She nodded. “Well, I don’t get along with ultimatums that well, Ms. Eclipse. And what we need now is an antidote, not more murder.”
“You are the antidote, Greenfield. Now come with us. I’ll give you a synopsis of your operation on the drive to our headquarters.”
In Los Angeles
The drive was quick, and I got a tour of the Negative Squad’s underground base. Of course, they had blindfolded me so I couldn’t notice how to enter their base, or where it was located. Sable said it was “classified.” But once I was in, the whole place was occupied with government agents. They also gave me the details of my mission.
My objective was simple: sneak into an abandoned hospital that John Solars was hiding out in, and then take him out. The Squad suspects that the place is overrun with Mutants, which would make it hard to discern the Mutants, especially at this time of dusk. Sable and her team would come in soon for an extraction.
I was just across the hospital, on the rooftop of a building. With my enhanced speed, I ran across the roof and jumped, crashing into a window on the top floor of the hospital, which I hope didn’t make too much noise. Stealthily, I crept through the gloomy and melancholy hallways. I noticed that some of the objects at desks had been left behind, such as stacks of papers, and chairs. All of the medical equipment had been taken out when the place was deserted.
My footsteps squeaked on the floors. I turned left on a corner, which led me down another hallway. But then I froze. John Solars was standing at a window, looking out at the city. “Welcome to my home, Dave,” he said, not facing me. He turned around, and walked towards me.
“It ends today, John. Let’s not do this the hard way,” I told him. I could see that his scars had healed up also.
He stopped in his tracks, putting both arms up in the air. He began laughing. “Why not? The hard way is always the best way!”
Instantaneously, hordes of Mutants broke through the room doors they’d been hiding behind and rushed at me. I was swept across the hallway, slamming into a wall. John ran up the stairway to the roof. I’ll be coming for him, once I finish these guys.
The horde held me against the wall, scratching at me, but not close enough to bite me. I kicked one in the face, which blew it back into the crowd. I grabbed the next one, and threw it into the others. I finally found my way out of the pack of creatures and raced up to the roof.
John was standing in the middle, cracking his knuckles. I could see he had on a labcoat. “Well, Dave, what are you waiting for? Let’s dance.” We sprinted towards each other, and clashed head on. Scrambling back up, I rushed toward him and punched him straight across the face. I tried with a second hand, but he countered and kicked me onto the ground. From the ground, I grabbed hold of his lower leg and wrenched him off of his feet. He fell, and I pinned him to the ground.
“Don’t make me kill you,” I said while struggling to hold him down.
“No need to worry,” he began.”you’ll be too dead to kill me.”
He thrusted me upward, and kneed me in the face. My nose bled, which gave me a sign that it was broken. Hopefully, my healing ability would kick in soon. I lunged forward, pushing him back into an electrical power box near the edge of the roof. I continually hit him with my fists, alternating hands, followed by an uppercut. Blood was on my hands now, nothing I haven’t seen before. Rage was uprising.
John waited until the blows were over, then grabbed my arm and twisted it, resulting in a breaking sound. I yelled out of pain, and he shoved me down at the edge of the roof. “You were always so weak,” he spoke, almost shouting. “Now, let me put you out of your misery.”
He attempted a final two-handed hit to my face, but I heard the pull of a trigger, and a bullet came in contact with John, causing him to fall over the roof.
I just laid there, breathing somewhat heavily, until Sable reached down to lift me up. I took her hand, and got to my feet.
“You're a little late,” I said.
“Fashionably late. And you’re a little beat up, Greenfield.”
“Yeah, not as much as him.” I pointed down from the roof, to where John was planted on the sidewalk.
The Negative Squad team secured the area, then began heading back down to the first floor of the hospital.
“Thanks for the help. What’s your team’s plan now?” I asked.
She hesitated at telling me, but then spoke. “My team and I are heading to Russia for a military op, but I cannot tell you what it is because it’s--”
“Yeah, I know, it’s ‘classified.’” I smiled with sarcasm.
She nodded, and then began to walk away. I called out to her. “So you’re not taking me in, even though I’m technically still an imminent threat?”
She looked back. “No, we’ll save that for another time.” When she left, I peered down at John. I thought about the woman on the plane, and her Bible.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge I will repay,’ says the Lord.”