Brothers In Blood (Peregrine x T'Shara)

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  1. Chapter 3

    There were still four jeeps left in the field. Four jeeps Lucius could potentially use to make his escape. Four jeeps which were almost certain to be so ridden with trackers that even he might not be able to find them all.

    There was little question in his mind what needed to be done, but the question was what was the best way to go about it. There was no question that They would already have initiated countless measures, both for reobtaining Marcus, and for making sure that, if they could not capture him, he would not remain alive. They would think he was just a fool, a fool surviving off of instinct and emotions, incapable of any form of logic. And whether they believed the short circuit that had allowed Marcus to escape and temporarily jammed his tracking signal was an accident or a plan, it hardly mattered now. They thought Lucius was dead.

    They had always misjudged him, misjudged his intelligence, misjudged his fear, misjudged his determination to rip Them apart, no matter what it took. This was simply the first step in Their destruction.

    There was a switchblade in the glove box of one of the jeeps, and its spring-loaded blade flipped open with a quiet click. They had placed the trackers in the very heart of this body, certain that meant that he would never be able to get it out. Certain that They would always be able to reacquire this most precious of weapons.

    It was just one more thing that they had misjudged.

    Marcus would never have been able to do it by himself. He was too bound in his own body, too tied to the signals that flitted from nerve to brain. But Lucius removed himself from the pain, from the deep, all consuming agony, as the silver blade slashed with surgical precision, as his brother’s scream echoed in the emptiness between them. His hands needed to be still to get the tracker out, and, in the end, this was for Marcus’ own good. And so he shut out Marcus’ screams as he had shut out the pain, his hands still with the apathy of a surgeon.

    The tracker was balanced on the tip of the knife, and the tip of the blade did not even quiver as he fully extracted the tiny chip from Marcus’ torso.

    Already the incisions were starting to heal, as Lucius carefully placed the chip on the dashboard of the Jeep. He could feel the body’s muscle knitting itself back together. Within an hour there would no longer be even a scar.

    Marcus’ screams had faded to little more than whimpers. He would be fine in a few minutes. There were more pressing problems. For one, after the amount of damage that he had sustained today, food was shortly going to become a problem. He could already feel the body beginning to register its instinctual complaint.

    However, there was an even more urgent matter that had to be dealt with. The blocker he had placed on the chip was not permanent, and now that it was out of Marcus’ body he doubted he had even two minutes before it reconnected with Their satellites.

    The chip was resilient, designed to survive any punishment that Marcus might take. But it was also supposed to be protected by Marcus’ body. Lucius grabbed the small tracker from where it was sitting on the dash, set it on the ground, and aimed one of the looted pistols at it. The fired bullet raised a shower of dirt a fraction of an inch from the chip. Pointedly holding back his frustration as he held back Marcus’ bid for control, Lucius bent down, picked up the chip between two delicate fingers, and set it down inside the barrel of the gun.

    This time, when he fired, there was no way for the bullet to miss. The chip fragmented into a thousand microscopic pieces, and Lucius set to work extracting the others.

    There would be other concerns to worry about, but they would have to wait until later. For now, the highest priority was getting away without being tracked. It might be doubtful that They would have sent another team already, but it did not pay to waste time. When he had no true data from which to build his hypotheses, caution was always the most advisable option.

    Marcus’ chest still hadn’t fully healed, but that also held no sway in Lucius’ mind. As long as the body did not die, pain was quite irrelevant.

    The Facility was not a place that people were supposed to come. In fact, any citizen who innocently found his or her way within a few miles of The Facility’s walls was generally “retired” and never heard from again. Lucius had never been the kind to stare out the window, even if there had been windows in the prison he had been forced to call home. But if he had, there would have been little to see, as the vast majority of the building was underground. The entrance to The Facility was surrounded by seemingly endless miles of dense, overgrown forest, so thick that no vehicle could make it through without following the rough dirt track that led to the front doors. Add that to the massive gates that blocked off the road and the wall that surrounded the compound, and it became nothing short of suicide to approach without orders.

    But this time, the dense cover would work to the Brothers’ advantage, for now that all three of Marcus’ trackers had been removed, they were less likely to be spotted on the satellites if there was no direct line of sight to them.

    For a moment, Lucius partially released control of Marcus, giving him a chance to let Lucius know where he wished to go. Marcus took an instinctive step towards the West, towards the wild and untamed mountains, away from the largest cities. But even that act had been calculated, because as soon as Marcus made his preferred direction known, Lucius pushed his way back into control, and forced Marcus’ feet into a one hundred eighty degree turn, facing the exact opposite direction. Marcus’ silent objections were vehement, but Lucius ignored them easily, quietly applying pressure onto Marcus until his brother once more fell into smoldering silence.

    They expected Marcus to be working off of instinct, and would likely be able to accurately predict where his instincts would lead him. It was Lucius’ job to ensure that he then went in the exact opposite direction. The hunters would waste time carefully grid searching the direction Marcus was expected to run, while he would be able to use the time to go underground in society. Of course, there would be hunters sent in every direction, but those who knew the most, those who would be most adept at reobtaining Marcus, would be heading into the wilds. And so Lucius set off, first at a walk, but breaking quickly into a trot and then a full out run, hurtling through the narrow gaps between the trees at inhuman speed, relying completely on Marcus’ excellent reaction time to keep them from crashing.
  2. Marcus was incredibly fast for a human, and could maintain an average speed of 30 kph, with a short-range speed of 40 kph thanks to genetic, pharmaceutical, and mechanical enhancement throughout his childhood. Lucius used the advantages of this body to their full potential, hoping they could reach the third-nearest mid-sized city in a couple of days. But to keep this up, Marcus would have to eat something. That part would be difficult.

    He decided that they would stop on the outskirts of the nearest city, then find a way to rob the nearest convenience or grocery store. After all, Lucius had single-handedly planned the infiltration of dozens of "secure" foreign military and research facilities, surely he could figure out how to loot a store without leaving any evidence of their location.
  3. It had been a long time since Lucius had seen a small city. Marcus had almost always been contained, and when he was released for a mission it was not within this country. Lucius, of course, had always been bound to the chair, and had not been outside the Facility in living memory. Despite that, it was familiar. Clean, white, cold, structured, antiseptic. The only difference between the people who walked these streets and Lucius themselves was that they were unaware that they were prisoners. They never bothered to look past the surface and see the disgusting truth of their situation.

    There was no way that a man as massive as Marcus wouldn't stand out when he went into the city. Add that to his generally disheveled appearance from the fight and run and he was bound to turn more than a few eyes. That was simply something he was going to have to accept. All that mattered was that he didn't draw the wrong attention. The people were sheep, and unless they felt threatened they wouldn't bother to bleat. It was going to be the security, the technology that Lucius was going to have to find a way to work around.
  4. To the good fortune of everyone involved, Marcus avoided attracting the wrong attention. Most passerby assumed he was a simple homeless man who had made his way too far out from the inner city area. This was fortunate for the brothers, but it was more fortunate for the passerby, for anyone who had dared to give them unwanted attention would have soon after come down with a mild case of “broken neck.”

    So they made it to a low security convenience store without significant incident. Now Lucius wandered how to disable the security system and get inside.

    Usually, Lucius found technology even easier to manipulate than people. He was an expert at what was crudely called “hacking” in idiot layman's terms. Give him a typical computing device and get him close enough to intercept the signals, and he could find a way to permanently intercept them. The problem was, they had brought no technology with them, not even a simple watch, since everything at the Facility would be tagged and tracked. Hacking into a system without a computer of your own, now that would be an issue. Obviously, if Lucius had direct access to a security framework, then he could work from there, but he would have to already be inside the shop and would not have had this problem in the first place. He despised “Catch 22s.”
  5. Lucius sat Marcus' body against the wall, adopting a vacant look so that any person who did wander his way back here would pass right on by. But behind the glassy stare, Lucius was taking in everything standing between himself and his prize, the door of the convenience store, but, more accurately, the supply bay that was waiting behind the door.

    Security systems had become completely automated many years ago. As people had less and less to do with managing them, the companies in charge of their creation began to put in auto-correction systems, to temporarily compensate if one portion of the system went down. On the high-tech systems, if too much of the system went offline, an alarm would be sounded, bringing security guards and maintenance within a few minutes. It was highly doubtful that this store would have such security. If Lucius' expeditions all across the world had told him anything, it was that people did things as cheaply and sub-standard as they could possibly get away with. This was a small, clean neighborhood, and most crime was probably limited to simple break-ins and mugging, if even that. The owner of the store would never have invested in something as unnecessary as advanced security, especially when the most valuable thing they had to sell was a sandwich. Even if the entire security system was knocked out the worst thing that would probably happen was a small light in a corner of the facility, saying that the system needed maintenance. Most likely, a report would be sent to the corporation in charge of the system, and a repairman would be sent out within a couple of days.

    Lucius was not fond of "probably", or of "most likely". It was not his style to dive into anything without a complete plan in place, covering almost any eventuality. But he had relinquished that possibility as soon as he had sprung the lock on Marcus' cell. At that moment he had committed himself to sloppy, spur-of-the-moment decisions. He had planned his escape as much as he was able, he had a general plan in place, but there was no way for him to gather the information about the outside world that would be required to develop a complete plan. There was no way for him to set up contacts, or lay anything out to help him along the way. But it wasn't fear that he felt at his lack of a plan, it was simply irritation. He was relying upon the fact that They would never believe that Marcus was capable of any form of thought on his own; he was relying upon their certainty that he was dead.

    There was nothing left to do but plunge forward. But that didn't mean he had to be rash about it.

    The streets were kept clean-swept, but the sweepers could never pick up everything, and most of the time wouldn't bother to in a back-alley like this. It took a bit of maneuvering to sweep the street himself without ever getting in sight of one of the cameras, but Lucius returned to his hiding spot only a few minutes later, a handful of medium-sized pebbles clasped tightly in Marcus' large palm.

    His first shot was reliant entirely upon memory and Marcus' aiming skills, since checking where the camera was would also get him in a clear line of sight. He rolled one of the pebbles into the tips of the fingers, feeling its weight and shape, before drawing his arm back and tossing the pebble. It flew through the air with an alarming speed, and Lucius forced Marcus' eyes closed and directed his remarkable hearing in the direction of the pebble. There was no surprise on his face when he caught the sound of shattering glass.

    It would take less than half a second for the sudden lack of input from one of the cameras to reach the security computer and for the rest of the cameras to adjust to the lack of visuals in one certain area and change their own focus. But now there was enough of a blank spot that Lucius could move forward without being detected.

    It was ten minutes later, when all the cameras but one had been destroyed by the fast-flying pebbles, that Lucius had a moment of worry. The last camera was whirling about wildly, trying to cover as much of the required area as it could by itself. The computer would interpret the images and still be able to mostly put everything together. But as soon as he took that last camera out, if there was any sort of response system in place, it would be set off. And there would be no way for Lucius to know whether or not someone was coming to investigate. He took a quick, short breath, and then allowed Marcus to move partially back into his own body. As fast as the camera was moving, only Marcus' reflexes and aiming skills would be able to hit it on the first throw. As soon as the pebble left his fingers Lucius shoved him back down and took off towards the building. He still doubted that there was going to be any response of any kind to the downed security, but it would be best to move as quick as possible, just in case.

    The door slid open at his touch, and Lucius slipped in carefully, taking out another two cameras along the way.
    #5 Peregrine, Jan 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  6. Lucius kicked in the glass door, a feat of strength no normal human could have accomplished. But this body was not a normal human by any stretch of the imagination. With the ghost of Lucius still controlling it, this body had the strength of seven men and the intelligence of a master tactician, hacker, and inventor. Kicking in the door was inelegant, but satisfying. No fingerprints would be left, and it would simply look like part of the vandalism. It took several blows to create a large enough hole to crawl through without getting cut, but Lucius managed it and crawled through.

    I have, at the most, five minutes before there is a much increased risk of detection. The store may have a silent alarm, Lucius thought. The first thing he stole was a pair of plastic gloves from behind the food preparation counter. There would be no evidence left that it had been Marcus who had committed this crime, at least not enough to alert the proper authorities. The door could easily be written off as broken with a crowbar or other tool.

    Lucius quickly took two backpacks, and loaded them up with nuts and other high calorie, high nutrient foods. It would be enough to last the large man for a few days at least. He also found several cheap to mid range tablets that could likely be sold on the black market. Unfortunately, there was no cash to be found, as all monetary transactions had been converted to electronic credits many years ago. Sadly, the store sold no guns of any kind. But you were never going to get everything in one place. Lucius grabbed a few more items, such as a change of clothes, and before long, both bags were stuffed. Throwing the bags out first, he crawled out of the hole he had made in the door, and strode off purposefully, a completely passive and guiltless look on his face. To anyone that looked, Marcus would appear to be a homeless man simply carrying all of his belongings.

    Lucius was careful to spot and avoid any other security cameras that may be watching the streets as he headed out back to the outskirts of the city. He needed more supplies, contacts, and most importantly, a headquarters for his new one-man resistance cell. For that, he would head to Farlani, a large city that was off any political radar. It had a thriving black market, its share of abandoned property, and many areas known for being outside of the Government's control. Better yet, Marcus' captors would still be looking for him in the wilds, not in a large and heavily populated city.
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