Chapter 9

ANI president Palmer made a secret call to the underground leader – Regean.  The first rule of diplomacy would be to understand your opponent’s perspective. In this regard – he came well-prepared. He’d looked up all the history of the conflict over the past ten years- every dispute that occurred and firefight. From here- it was his goal to consider what would be reasonable to end the conflict – and if possible add more.

On the table- he would negotiate a treaty of peace- a ceasefire for a long duration and reparations and even trade agreements if the opponent… Dragging out an extended battle against an invisible opponent would only hurt the economy and all the people inside, so in this regard -reparations were much less expensive long-term. Additionally – he understood where the territory came from- when the ANI began to extend its borders many villages suffered before the Underground finally used their tunnels in the mountains to keep the nation at a standstill in Appalachia.

Also if he didn’t get involved immediately – he was ultimately responsible to represent the nation in the ANI council.

Even though it was something he wanted to end- there were quite a few who wanted to fuel the dispute. In this regard- he felt there were internal works at hand- and had attempted to oust them to no avail.

If he could however- he wanted to make the immediate negotiations before an all out war occurred.

A not unexpected call came on Reagan’s desk- a special number representing

“Is this Commander Regean?” he spoke as he entered the call with the commander,

“President Palmer,” Reagan spoke with mock surprise.

“I’d like to negotiate with you- before this conflict becomes an all out war,” Palmer replied.

Reagan had assumed something like this would occur.

“You would- would you?” Reagan spoke. He was aware that he had the upper hand, and using the upper hand- he would play it out. Negotiating now would be a waste, “i’m sorry, but i believe we have nothing to discuss at the moment… until all our demands are met on our own terms.”

He could hear the hesitancy across the line. It seemed that the president had come with sincere intentions as he continued with his polite nature.

He could understand why Sousa had been more inclined to work with this man- but in reality – the territory would fall in the long run if they agreed with anything the ANI had to say.

“Would you at least consider a ceasefire?”

Regean figured he’d make use of his best tool for now.

“You ask that of us after assassinating the previous commander during peace negotiations?”

He could feel the regret seem out of the president’s voice.

“We have done everything to find the culprit- and believe he was from an outside source…”  “That was a terrible tragedy that i wish could be undone….but can’t and – if we go any further – this will lead to a war,”  at the word war- the president had a stern sound, which was a little bit frightening even to Regean, “do you really want that?”

However Reagan held his ground – deciding to finish the conversation here before he lost his hand, “If that’s what it takes to be taken seriously, then that’s what we’ll do.”

“Please!” At the president’s plea, Reagan could only hold onto the com without hanging up- “…At least let me propose our offer…”

At the president’s Reagan could only wait, “I doubt that you’ll succeed our demands…”

“-Thirty year ceasefire- double reparations for the all the territory we’ve taken- including damages.”

Reagan was actually impressed that the president was willing to go this high at this point- he was sure that from Palmer’s perspective- this would good for both parties. The territory would be able to make up for the damages that they had received of course- able to repair and have wealth for a time to come. Thirty years was quite a long time- and only time could tell what would happen between the two nations.

Perhaps the president even wanted to extend the peace for more than thirty years with his influence- creating a permanent peace.

Even still, Reagan wanted much much more.

“Haha, you joke.”

And ended the com.

The president sat there dumbfounded. The implication of the last statement was not lost on him. The other side wanted war. He had a thought- it could have been possible that the assassination order could have come from Regean himself… then he put the thought away- the evidence pointed towards an outside source. The territory wouldn’t have been that hungry.

Whether or not he sympathized with the territory or even liked Sousa as a person- his primary responsibility was as the ANI president. If war was inevitable then he would do the utmost to end it with ANI victory.

If he had to go to war… then he would use everything at his disposal. With a history in diplomacy rather than military he knew that he was unable to make the militant decisions and with this- he called up the general of sector seven and his war council.

He could no longer be a diplomat- now was the time to be a president.


General Salis was surprised at the last directive given him by the president. He’d always thought of him as a pacifist. However- instead Palmer had just ordered him to end this as quickly as possible, with any means necessary.

“Finally,” he thought to himself. His hands were no longer tied- he could take charge of the armies in the way that they should be used.

He’d had many plans in place, but had been held by Palmer’s directive to maintain a state of non-war.

With a brisk pace he placed himself in the command center. This would be his new home for the next few months at least.

He called the generals to give them their directives across the map.

Now this was what he’d been waiting for. Reagan received reports from his personnel about the hurried advance from the ANI military.

While he knew that he wasn’t a diplomatic man- when it came to military decisions- Reagan was one of the best. This was why he was selected over the other commanders after commander Sousa was retired. Had it been for diplomatic reasons a different commander would surely have been elected.

This move by Saris was within his calculations. It was a blitzkrieg advance: and a mass movement across the territory. Most likely they were told to take prisoner the villages that they came across- crushing weapons and any forces within the villages while driving through.

The problem with this- is that unlike history with the German offensive- the tunnels were at their disposal. Regean would have plenty of traps in place for their advance.

Two days passed.

(The forces have been moving at a quick pace- had Regean wanted it he could have stalled their advance, except this is exactly what Regean wanted. The forces that backed away aren’t actually the main force of the Underground.

The difference between the Underground and ANI forces is that the people inside the territory are familiar with war…

Perhaps thirty thousand have spread out so far and with a call for more. Airships transport equipment such as speeders and have built in camping systems to setup forts.



but now is the time for the mission…


In two days time.

As Reagan received reports on


Ragen watched as the entirety of the Allied forces pushed itself towards the barrier. He’d prepared for it- what a fool, he thought to himself.

“Did you hear?” one recruit trading in with the others said to Jess.

“what?” she said.

“your boyfriend captured a whole crew of Allied soldiers, then let them go to save his team,”

What happened?”

“He’s on trial now for disobeying a direct command.”

“trade me spots,” she said.

“ok.” Sally smiled, “just because it’s you Jess…”

Jess hopped on the transit back to the Underground asap and left to make sure Michael would be ok.

Michael looked around his cell- stone walls from a carved in part of the Underground unrefined. A white ceiling and bright light made him feel like he was on display. He looked up at the ceiling. He wondered if Jess was thinking about him. He wondered if she knew.

Probably not, he thought.  If she’d have known, she would have at least contacted him, right? But what if, not? What if she agreed with the verdict? She had a pretty one-sided view of the conflict. Allies bad, territory good, no grey area. Even though his father had been a commander in the allied forces, making him half an ally to her.

He didn’t like thinking like this; he looked for something to do inside of his cell. He found a rock on the ground and started doing some hand tricks with it.

He started wonder about the verdict for a bit. How much influence did Reagan have on the council and the council’s rulings?

He didn’t really get a good feeling about him. He had the sort of character with an, whatever it takes, ends justify the means, attitude.

He wondered what Vincent was really doing. He knew he left for a reason. To protect the ones he cares about, right? Well he knew it was something interesting however, he had no idea what it would be, but if it was something that threatened the safety of Jess he could assume it was more than just a simple threat.

He started throwing the stone up at the ceiling from a laid position on the bed.

“Well this’ll burn five minutes,” he thought aloud.

Vincent waited on a bench on the side of the recruitment center while the trainer was absent. He maintained a distant persona as he looked around the room. A group of people, a vast range of sizes, stood around, some alone, and some in groups.

“Look who brought in another runt,” a six foot and some inches guy spoke to a couple of his buddies after looking at Vincent. They must have come in together.

“What’s a punk like you doing here? Your mom kick you out of the home and have nowhere to go?”

Vincent took a look at him, he looked like he must work out. a lot. Big, built, and stupid- “What do you mean?” Vincent responded challengingly, “I believe your parents thought you needed a body guard, so they hired me to keep a watch on you.”

“You’ll pay for that,” the big guy spoke and advanced.

Vincent took off his jacket and held up his pointer finger to tell him to wait.

“Alright, now I’m ready,” he said.

“The big one threw a punch at Vincent, but Vincent ducked and kneed him in the stomach. The two buddies after seeing their leader keeling over tried to grab him but Vincent ducked, tripped him, and the elbowed him in the neck. The last one got a punch in on Vincent, but Vincent shook it off and got hold of his arm in a bar and pinned him with his knee in his back.

The rest of the recruitees stood around looked at the situation with Vincent and the three on the ground. Vincent looked at their gleeful look at what he’d done. He must have been picking on all of them. It looked like the school bully wasn’t going to have his fun.

The commander entered and stood in front of the group and saw the three on the ground.

“You’re in,” he said to Vincent, “Take a break. Report at the barracks in fourteen hundred hours.” He motioned Vincent to the door.

“The rest of you…” he said as he addressed the group, “Line up.”

Vincent got up to leave while the rest of the group got a last glimpse of him before the commander spoke again to them:

“First thing’s first. My name is Sir, and you will address me as such. Only friends and those who outrank me will call me by another name. Is that understood?”

“Yes sir,” the group said.

“Is that Understood!”

“Yes sir!”

Vincent walked out of the room and to the barracks. That went easily.

“The council will see you now,” the guard spoke to Michael.

“Thanks,” Michael said as he got up from his back on the bed and got up. He decided over the past couple hours not to worry and see what would happen after taking a little nap. It seemed like they’d decided.

The guard input a code inside the door to let Michael out, “Cuff yourselves with these. I’d prefer to let you do it.” He did.

He followed behind the guard as he walked slowly across the halls into the council chambers.

The guard led him to the door and then Michael stepped into it.

Michael looked around the room, a small chair stood in the middle of a semi-circular table. Twelve council leaders were in place around the table and Reagan in the center of the semi-circle. He was centered in the middle of the circle with a low chair facing the front and all eyes on him.

“We are here to discuss Michael and his actions in the northeast,” Reagan said.

Michael wasn’t sure how long the proceedings would take place. How would he have to defend himself?

“Against my better judgment,” Rage said, “the council has declared you free of all charge. You are free to go.”

The council members got up and proceeded out of a side door.

“Is that all?” Michael asked.

One of the council members, an older gentleman stopped and smiled and gave a short nod following the council member in front of him out.

As Michael started to leave, Rage stopped him, “meet me at my office in twelve minutes.”

Michael wasn’t sure what he would have been requested for. He walked outside of the room where the guard then unlocked his cuffs. He spent a couple minutes just leaning against the wall enjoying his freedom followed by preparing to meet with Reagan. He walked towards the office areas and entered into Rage’s office.

As he entered, he saw Reagan sitting at the desk with a file in front of him. He pushed it forward for Michael to take and spoke:

“You have a new assignment,” he spoke with a satisfaction in his voice. Something about it was

Michael wasn’t sure why he’d be receiving a new assignment so soon or what it would entail, but he sat down across and took a look at the file. As he began to take the file in hand to read it, Reagan explained:

“Seeing as you have the experience in the Allied infrastructure and your usefulness in the field thus far, I feel you’re a good candidate for the mission.”

He looked at him as Michael began to skim over the file. What he saw was the layout of the military base in the center of the Allies and specific locations.

“What is it?”

“A group of recruits have been captured, two of them from the Underground control. It is your mission to eliminate any threat associated with the knowledge they have of the Underground infrastructure.”

Eliminate any threat… Did that mean he wanted him to kill the members?

“How do you expect me to do it?”

“How you do it- by any means necessary. It’s imperative that you succeed,” He handed him a small metal circular device .

“What is this?”

“If you find that you can’t escape, use it, and it’ll detonate and kill anyone within a hundred foot radius.

Suicide mission… Michael thought. He looked at Reagen. He had a small smile.

“I appreciate you and your contribution to the Underground Michael,” he said.

Michael thought about how he could probably just leave if he wanted, eascape to a city or a village. it wouldn’t be difficult. I’m sure you do, Michael thought as he pieced together that this was Reagan’s way of getting him out of the way. He didn’t expect Michael to come back. Michael chose to focus on the details.

“Who are the recruits?”

“One of them is an owl named Sevir who’s been working undercover in the filing department. Another you know, Jadon,” he said.


“You are dismissed,” he said with a wave off. Michael got up to leave, not sure how to approach this situation. On one hand, he was about ready just to leave and not give the Underground a second thought, because the leader was a tyrannical maniac. On the other hand, if he did, he wouldn’t be able to save Sally’s brother, and a member of the group. He figured the best approach would be to find Jessica, if he could and see if it were at least possible.

Jadon… he thought to himself. Sally will want to hear about it.

He got up, gave his mandatory salute while secretly loathing Reagan, and left.

As he exited the door, Jess was outside to greet him.

“Hey, I heard what happened,” she said and gave him a tight hug.

He wrapped his around her.

They just stood there for a few moments and then slowly released.

“I’m glad they ruled in your favor,” she said as she looked at him.

“Well… sort of,” Michael said and she seemed to have a troubled pulled back look after he said that.

“what’s going on then?”

“while I was acquitted of all charges, afterwards he gave me this mission,” he handed her the file.

“that doesn’t seem very nice to give you…” she said looking at it.

“yeah it’s not very feasible, he needs me to get into a high security area and make sure Jadon and Vic don’t compromise the Underground. It seems the only real way I’d get in would be as quickly as possible and then blow it up.”

Jess sat there for a minute trying to decide what to do.

“well, let’s see if we can’t get the others to agree to help you and Jadon,” She said.

Michael smiled that in contrast to what the Underground and Reagan was concerned with, Jess was on his side.

“i refuse to accept it,” Reagan responded as Jess told him her plan to work with Michael.

“What kind of commander would put one of his own on a suicide mission when it was possible to get better results with a team?” Jess said demmanding.

“You’re valauble…” reagen responded.

“I’m going,” Jess replied. “and Tech and Sally with me. Jadiva is one of ours. Sx3, and we’re helping Michael get him out.”

Michael looked on at the map. the rest of the group, sally, tech, and bm were all there with him.

“Alright so, the entrance points are here, here, and here…” Michael said pointing to the map. The rest of the crew was there.

“Me and you will enter from this point,” he told Jessica pointing to the map. “We’ll be disguised as level four clearance commanders from sector two… they won’t ask question right away- i think they’re expecting it.”

After we get inside, that’s where we split. You two…” he pointed to Tech and Sally,  “will enter in the caravan of new recruits and meet up with jess here. After which you’re job will be to set up a distraction. Sally, you’ll come with me to get into the prisoner’s ward. We’ll wait here till the first couple doors are unlocked by the electron bomb, after which we’ll have two minutes to get in and out.”

Sally had insisted she was part of the rescue and on the front lines of helping Michael. They’d been going over the details and maps and disguises the past four hours and everyone was really anticipating the event.

“Alright,” Michael said, “we’re ready as we’ll ever be.”

Jess looked at him with a look of support and smile, he looked at her with a smile and then back to the group with a focused look,

“let’s go get em.”

It was Michael’s job to rescue the friend who’d been abducted. Now was the time to be a tactician. He’d go through hell to fight for peace- but when it was go time, he’d do the same to fight for a good reason.

Something burned inside of him, telling him to give it his all. Rescuing a friend. If he had to take out a few wicked people to do so, so be it.

The group was in the vehicle. a stealth flier transport ship. On the way there it seemed that ‘Tech’ was consoling Sally.

This was an important mission for them, not in regards to the

The first checkpoint. Getting inside of the compound. He and Jess required certain passes which could override the need for a check. Tech was able to do that. After that, all one needed was the right suit.

A guard circled around the vehicle, slowly checking the pieces. Nothing out of the ordinary, check. He then turned his attention to the two.

Michael looked deadpan at the guard who looked at them curiously. After running his pass through, he stared back ahead. Jess didn’t even bother looking at the guard.

After running her own pass annoyed, she waltzed through the gate as if impatient at the time it took. As soon as the steel doors opened- the real challenge appeared. On the side was a section for vehicles, after which they’d have to split up and take care of the details to releasing their friends.

“Alright….” Michael said after they pulled into the driveway. He got up and brushed down his suit, keeping the well pressed piece in tact.

“ok…” Jess responded back with a nod and split up with him.

He watched as Jess split into a different portion of the compound and  then went his own way. Michael busily walked towards the engineering room. Different soldiers nodded at him formally as he passed, but this would gather too much attention.

His pass got him through the gate, but it wouldn’t have clearance inside areas that weren’t publicly available.

He quickly got one of the engineering uniforms on and changed his appearance to match one of the maintenance persons. Hopefully- there wouldn’t be any emergencies he was required for, but on the other hand he could use that reason as a way to waltz through some more crowded areas.

He moved his way to the cafeteria, pretending to be a window washer with bucket in hand. As soon as Sally met up with him, he’d work his way inside the prisoner lounge

Jess walked towards the meeting point.

Tech was dressed in a basic uniform with the other recruits. Sally sat diagonally between two others. Newcomers. Too many in one party would have been suspicious, so they devised another way in with the id’s of recruits that they’d knocked out before entering.

Sally thought that he looked more in shape than anyone here despite being the nerd of the Underground. it seemed even the nerd of the specials had to be in pretty good shape.

Despite her feelings, she’d tuck it away for the time being. He smiled at her as she glanced up at him. Fitting in this caravan wasn’t too hard seeing as most of them looked like they were going to cry.

Tech looked at one in particular who was a little shakey and talked to him with a soothing acent, “hey man, you’re from 8 aren’t you.”

Sally recognized that Tech was talking about the sector tower eight.

“yeah…” the recruit responded seeming to brighten up a bit.

“Me too, although it’s been a while- is Ms. Carigan still the same…”

The recruit brightened up a bit more, “You went to Fallister?”

“yeah, although i got transferred to six soon after…”

They seemed to brighten the mood of the whole caravan. She was surprised to see the kids she was with seemed happy to be able to talk. She’d always thought the Allied recruits were a bunch of zombies. She’d heard that recruitment was mandatory for Allies to serve in the military for at least a year.

They kept talking. She was surprised to see that ‘Tech’ knew more than a typical ‘Underground’.  Perhaps he lived there at one point, she thought. Who would have thought that Tech was part of the Allies, but if so… how did he get accepted into ‘the Underground’ in the first place?

The caravan came to a stop. They hopped off of the as the leader met up with them.

“Drop your things at the barracks. Meet up in front of the training hall at 10 hundred hours.”

Tech and Sally broke apart from the group and tucked away in a corner.

“so…” Sally started.

Tech laid out the details- he’d break into the science ward with Jess and they’d take one of the electron-grenades that would break up the security measures for a minute and a half. Enough time to get past the entrance.

“thanks for coming…” Sally said. “i know Jayden is my brother…”

“it’s all good,” Tech responded.

“how were you so able to talk with them about living in the towers?” Sally asked.

“I used to live in the towers…” he spoke to her while they met up, and that was it. “i didn’t like the way they treated the kids in school so i rebelled a lot. Eventually i got transferred and then ran away. I-”

“It’s ok,” she grabbed his hand reassuringly, recognizing he was trying to explain himself out of fear of her not accepting him.

“well now…” Jess said jokingly. They both pulled away. “sorry to break up the lovefest.”

“it’s ok…” tech responded, “let’s get down to business.”

Sally walked up to the cafeteria, this time in a  uniform.


3rd om

Tech meets up with Jess and they plant the device and wait while Tech gets situated in the electronics room to tap into the security.

Jess splits up and ‘steals a security access pass and duplicates to send to Michael?’

After which she goes to hangar to get hold of a vehicle.

“You’re good to go…” Michael and Sally heard on the link by ‘Tech’.

Michael and Sally approach the prisoner’s entrance with access code to enter into the deeper levels. They pass two security checks after which they enter and find Jadon. However, they run into trouble as the scientist finds them and asks who they are. When he’s about to warn security they inject him with one of his own needles and tell them to go.

Michael goes in with Sally where he gets dismissed, but ends up using the needle to make the scientists go to sleep which sally frees her brother, who’s incredibly weak.

Jess sneaks past a couple guards and shuts down the locks on the doors. She then joins the group and they escape.

Tech sets off the electronic bomb, and they charge out with Jadon. Security warns that a prisoner is escaping, but they get into the outer layer.

The entrance shuts down and warns of intruder, however, Jess has planted the device on the vehicle and Michael and Sally bring Jadon to the hangar bay and get a vehicle which they meet up with Tech at.

They blow up the bomb and escape through the entrance in addition blowing up different points in the compound (destroying either the vehicles that would chase them or the tracker that would follow them).

A few of the vehicles start to follow but they escape from the compound.

In the vehicle, Michael talks to Tech and asks if everything’s good, who gives an ok. Sally is holding onto Jadon and making sure he’s ok.

Tech says they were  using him as a human guinea pig experimenting with BMI implants and it’ll probably a long road to his recovery if he will at all.

He’s asleep for now, and they go back to the Underground somewhat solemnly.

The knocked out scientist re-awoke and rubbed his head.

The plan for the project was as such:

Jadon was a mole… While the Underground had anonymity – and the HQ could be moved, it also meant there was something lacking. When someone from their own side became a mole- then the information could be gathered without anyone being the wiser.

Jadon was the first successful human experiment- as tampering with the human brain so much was difficult not to mess up.

Jadon however was unaware of his cooperation. The only thing he would know is that he would sometimes have a headache, and couldn’t remember what transpired over the course of a few minutes at certain times… that was part of the program’s design. Another part – was that if anyone found it- it would instantly poison the project’s brain, and destroy any of the technology given to him.

Things transpired according to his calculations. Had Jadon not been taken back by the Underground- they would have found a way to foster his escape regardless. However, this made everything easier.

It wasn’t that security wasn’t lax  when they let them inside of the compound- if they had been unawares – then it most likely would have been

“Activate program,





Author: jackpennnovels

Hey there. I'm a 28 y/o aspiring author - looking to inspire youth and entertain the masses with fantastic stories. i enjoy travelling the world and understanding different ways of life- and my second dream would be to help others understand what it's like to live in different parts of the world- in the hopes that cultural exchange can open the eyes of those who've had theirs shut for so long.

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