A normal V.E.3 Training Interval but something felt wrong like a dream gone off course. He could smell it too.

Gasoline.

Rogers blew down the door his with his air rifle and threw an R-Grenade in the building. After a seconds pause, a small armored man charged in, two giant figures behind him.

“PUT YOUR HANDS UP!”

The room exploded in light and the larger of the paired men hit the floor. U-Lis didn’t have time to react as he ran forward—he jumped over his squad member spraying his automatics in each direction arms crossed. There were three targets in the room and two of them were out by the time he hit the floor. The last was in the corner behind a toppled refrigerator blasting an Ion-Cannon in what felt like eternal bursts. As the splashes of orange gooey light crossed over U-Lis’ head, the scene felt like it was in slow motion. The dreadlocked man cackled as he fired exposing missing and golden teeth. His laughter gargled and deep at the winded down play speed.

“EAAAAAT SHIIIIIIIT YOUUUUUU FUUUUU—“

SCUM.”

U-Lis clicked back on. His man was on the floor curled up in fetal position, grimacing and clutching his stomach—the wound massive and boiling. The air smelled poisonous and rank like radiated and burnt tissue. This wasn’t training anymore. It was the real thing.
The target fired off another burst and then went running into the next room still crowing like a pure psychotic—something U-Lis had never heard in his life but didn’t need a base for comparison. The insanity rung at his core unnerving him from the inside out, but he followed.
In the next room, the man was standing with his arms up. The plasma gun laid on the floor smoking.

“GET ON THE FLOOR”

The man ignored him backing up toward an open balcony and still laughing like a maniac. U-Lis would have ended it there, but the man had nowhere to go. They were on the 22nd level of the complex, and The Source would want this man alive. He was crazy, but he was someone. However he had inserted himself into a Source Training Interval was an absurd puzzle enough. It was supposed to be a simulation and now there was a man dying—a whole life dedicated to the cause and now all a waste.

“ONE MORE MOVE!”

“yuh’knawha misa caupah,” the man’s voice almost at a whisper now. He continued to walk backwards.

U-Lis knew what he was doing, but he stood transfixed in horror.

“yuh’knawha misa caupah…Ai’ seh yo lod befo. O yuh. Ai’ seh’d it. Yuh fol binrond. Yuh binrond sesda faree pahginin,” he shook a finger, “buh dado mene s’rah.”

He leaned his back over the railing.

“Yuhhur. Dado mene s’rah.”

He didn’t make a sound falling.

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