“Alright, so where do we begin Paxton?” I said to him, eager to get started on the plan.
“Alright well here’s how we’ll do this. We’re gonna attack them on two fronts and take out two birds with one stone.” Said Paxton,
“We’re gonna set you up to become a day-trader, that's what we call merchants nowadays but before when the world was relatively normal that was a term for people who traded stocks during the day. But whatever, that’s all in the past. When you become a day-trader, I'll build up your reputation and grab the attention of the higher-ups at KRUGER, so that way we can create a diversion of sorts. Meanwhile, you and I are also gonna take them down by attacking key components of their company anonymously. We’ll take down their warehouses, we’ll poach their employees, cut off their funding. The list of ways we can manipulate and take them down is practically endless but all of that relies on you taking all of their attention with your company's success.” His plan wasn’t very cohesive but it was a plan nonetheless and it wasn’t a bad start at all.
Before I could respond to his first explanation he cut me off,
“Now when I was referring to taking down two birds with one stone, becoming a big, successful day-trader that makes a ton of money was the dream of the previous revenant as he might’ve mentioned to you. Sure we’re converting his dreams into a way to attack KRUGER but he also wanted to take them down fairly using the day-trader method but unfortunately, that won’t be enough to take them down. That’s why I combined his old plans for becoming a day-trader with my plans for causing the downfall of KRUGER. So his death was not in vain and we will carry on his dreams. But before we begin any of this, you’ve gotta study” Said Paxton,
“Study? What do you mean study?” I said with confusion,
“You’ve gotta study the records of all the previous revenants, their triumphs and achievements, the allies they’ve made, the enemies and nemeses they’ve come across, you need to learn everything about their lives so that you can keep up the act that you’re the same person to the outside world. But don’t worry, you’re not some famous hero or anything so you won’t have to talk to a lot of people.”
I immediately went to Paxton’s desk and began looking through the archives left behind by the previous revenants. Paxton was not only a vital person to upholding the revenant identity but you could tell how much he cared about the revenant ideology by the amount of time and effort he put into recording these archives. It must’ve been hard for him to befriend several people, time and time again only to watch them die for the goals of the revenant. But he kept going and was always there for every revenant before me and he’ll probably be there for the revenants of the future too. Considering how many revenants these archives have logged, it seems many of them have not had long lives once they became the revenant. That did make me worry but at the same time, I felt a weird sensation as if the weight of several lives was now on my shoulders.
Throughout all these predecessors' lives, there’s been one constant enemy, KRUGER. Even though several revenants have taken on jobs for KRUGER, it was usually only for the sake of collecting intel on them or because they knew they didn’t have much longer left to live and they wanted to find the next predecessor. Oddly enough, there wasn’t much intel on the revenant that passed the title onto me, and Paxton never logged the cause of his death.
I stepped away from his computer and asked him about it,
“Hey Paxton, why’s there so little info on the revenant that recruited me?” He replied,
“First of all, from now on just call me Pax. It’s shorter and simpler. Now as for your question the reason I never input a cause of death is that I never finished my investigation. You see, he went dark and disappeared two days prior to his death, that’s why I didn’t know that he died or how he died. When you told me you were new, I went into the data recorded by the revenant equipment and gear he left for you and started my investigation but then you came here so I couldn’t finish. I know that it looks like he was just a simple mercenary that took on a risky job and died because of it but you saw the archives, revenants only take on KRUGER contracts when they have ulterior motives and I never figured out his motives. But I’ll keep working on that and keep you updated.” He explained.
His explanation cleared up some of my confusion but one thing I couldn’t help but notice was how easily he got over the previous revenant's death. I guess that must be a side effect of his job. Becoming numb and cold to the deaths of your friends. I guess he and I are more alike than I thought. My train of thought was abruptly interrupted as several gunshots rang out from above us. Paxton looked at me and shouted to me, “I’ll stay here to monitor the situation, you get above and see what’s going on out there. If the situation is bad, try to sneak back to your ship and grab your guns.”
I nodded and began running out of the vault and up the staircase back into Paxton’s old abandoned-looking house. I went out the front door and I was not expecting what I saw. I stepped outside only to see a wave of KRUGER soldiers patrolling the area looking for someone. I figured I could notify Paxton and get out of the area safely in my airship but then I saw a convoy of four KRUGER security airships that were heavily armed roaming around the skies. I couldn’t simply sneak by and escape.
I notified Paxton about the armed patrols and convoys in the sky and snuck into the alleyway next to his place to plan my next move. Of course, Paxton was there to help me but If I couldn’t get out of this, how would I be expected to take down KRUGER? I can’t always rely on him. I feel like that might’ve been why some of the previous revenants died. After all, they were just like me. They had no clue what the outside world was like and unfortunately, they couldn’t survive it. But that changes with me.
As I was sneaking around between alleyways trying my best to avoid the patrols and make it to the parking lot, I heard something over the loudspeakers of the KRUGER security airships,
“All citizens remain indoors and do not show aggression when being searched or we will respond with force. We are currently looking for a high-value target that goes by the name of Revenant. Hand him over and we will leave the area at once. If you refuse to cooperate, you will be shot.”
Why were they looking for me? Perhaps the two soldiers that stopped me before meeting up with Paxton reported that I was in the area which makes sense as to how they found me but what do they want with me? Surely it can’t be anything bad right? The previous revenants did a lot of contract work for KRUGER so they shouldn’t have any problems with me. At least, I hope so.
“Pax, I’m gonna do things differently, whatever happens, just trust me,” I said into my earpiece.
I took it off before Paxton could respond because I didn’t want him to influence my next move. I put my revenant mask on and stepped out from the alleyway. At first, the KRUGER soldiers took aim at me since all they saw was a person not following the stay-indoors rule but then they realized I was the target they were looking for. When I looked past them I saw several bodies of those who refused to cooperate or help them find me. Those were probably the gunshots we heard that drew me out of Paxton’s house in the first place.
“Stay at a distance and remain still!” Shouted one of the KGF soldiers,
“We are taking you in for an important meeting. We will bring your ship with us so you can leave after the meeting. Please come with us now.” The other soldier said, continuing from the first one’s instructions.
I went with them onto the elevator platform into one of the security airships and entered their ship. They took me to the cargo hold so that I could not see where we were going. When we landed and they escorted me out of the ship I had an idea of where we were. We were underneath the edge of Edgecliff city. The surrounding area was filled with nothing but dust, and ruins of the first corporate world war. We landed on a small flat part of the ruins that seemed to be the rooftop of a building that had collapsed and sunk into the ground. Several KGF soldiers surrounded the edges of the rooftop waiting for something.
After a minute of waiting a small convoy of three huge airships came flying down from the downtown area of Edgecliff. But these ships were different. As I mentioned, they were much larger and somehow even more heavily armed with rapid-fire cannons on the front and several missile pods on either side of each ship. But the quality of these ships that stood out from the standard KRUGER security and transport airships was the color scheme. KRUGER’s branding consisted of mostly blue and yellow and the security and transport ships followed that color scheme but the ships approaching us were labeled as KGF ships but they were sleek and had a black and gold color scheme.
Two of the three ships remained in the sky hovering around while one descended onto the rooftop. Before the main door of the ship opened, two smaller doors opened and from those doors, two combat exoskeletons were deployed. Creepy, skinny, robots that had a human-like frame and were extremely dangerous in combat. Although they were expensive and couldn’t be mass-produced to support most corporations' war efforts, that’s why they enacted the slave soldier act that caused me to be born into a world at war.
These robots were not cheap so whoever came to meet me was really damn important. Then the main door shifted open and out came a team of human KGF soldiers who came out with more armor than the security soldiers and more advanced weaponry than what they had. These soldiers also had gear with the black and gold color scheme. Out from the airship came a man in a suit.
Whoever he was, when he saw me he seemed happy to meet me,
“At long last, I finally get to meet the best mercenary my company’s ever hired!” He said.
“You don’t recognize me? Well, I guess that’s understandable considering how much time you spend in the trenches and on the field. I am Jonathan Kruger-Reed. CEO and founder of KRUGER Firearms. I brought you here to discuss a very important offer. You see, you’ve been a great asset for my company in these troubling times of war. But I don’t understand how you’ve continued to fight this well after years and years of mercenary work. It’s almost inhuman. It’s like you’ve got the lifespan of several people! But that’s not why I called you here. KRUGER Firearms is expanding. We’ve dominated the firearms black market and now we’re moving on to new endeavors. I’m talking about ammunition manufacturing and sales, Heavy weaponry sales and even commissioning select mercenaries that work under us to other companies Via our new Private Military Branch. I’d like to offer you the first spot as a KRUGER exclusive mercenary. You’d permanently work under us and would be contracted out as a KRUGER Private Military Contractor. So? What do you think?” I was bewildered.
This was not at all what I was expecting.
“If you know me, then you know I don’t work under anyone. Thanks but no thanks.” I said sternly hoping that he wouldn’t continue to attempt to persuade me.
“Hmm, now that’s not the answer I was looking for. You know, I really do find it odd how no one has managed to see your face ever. And going back to what I said before. How the hell are you not dead yet? I mean, you’ve been fighting as a mercenary for what? About 30 years now? Or something like that at least. How the hell does that add up!? Do you see what you’re doing to me? You’re making me frustrated. And I never lose my calm in front of others. Look, I’m not gonna beat around the bush here. I know there’s something up with you. And now, I’ve got my eye on you. If you want me to stop, all you have to do is sign the contract. Join me and we can become unstoppable.” He said.
He was clearly not mentally fit to run a company. In that short response to me declining his offer, he went through a rollercoaster of emotions.
“Please consider my offer, you won’t regret it. And remember, I’m watching you. And whatever secret it is that you’re clearly hiding. I’ll find it. And I’ll use it to make you break. well, that's all! Have a nice day! Farewell Revenant.” He said as he got back into his ship.
The doors closed, the exoskeleton robots returned to their storage in his ship and they left.
“Your ship is en route to here now, do not follow the security ships or Mr.Kruger or you will be shot down. Do not discuss this meeting with anyone. Or we will know.” Said one of the security branch soldiers as they all packed up and got into their ship.
As they all flew away my ship hovered close to the rooftop in its automated pilot-tracking mode.
I got on my ship and stayed there hovering for a moment to plan my next move. I needed to get back to Paxton and keep him updated. But that would take too long, so I’ll just contact him through the ship. But where do I go now? I called Paxton from the ship and explained everything to him.
“Well damn, you had quite an eventful day huh? Good thing you turned him down but he’s got his eye on you now and that’s not good. I’m sending you coordinates to a warehouse that you own, it’s got an even larger armory than the one on your ship and it’s got a computer setup I can use. We’ll use that as our headquarters from now on considering my house is now a compromised position. I’ll meet you at the warehouse and we’ll plan where to go from there.”
I was still taking in all that happened only a few minutes ago. I met the CEO of KGF. What if I had just killed him then? Surely I would’ve died but maybe all of this would’ve ended right then and there. But thinking that way isn’t going to solve anything. I had to get going. We need to make our next move soon. Before Kruger discovers our plan and eliminates me.