Agent Randal leafed through Ryan’s file. He glanced at each photo of Sawyer and scribbled notes on a piece of paper as the helicopter he was riding in carried him towards Pripyat.
“What is that?” asked his contact, Officer Igor Kozlov.
“Nothing.” Said Agent Randal. “Just a file on a case I’m working on back home.”
“We should be there in one hour.” Said Igor in a heavy Eastern European accent.
“Tell me again why we’re going to Pripyat? That place has been abandoned for years.” Said Agent Randal.
“Exactly.” Said Igor. “That is why we should check there first. Besides, there have been reports of strange activity in the area.”
“What kind of strange activity?” asked Agent Randal.
“Tours of the disaster area are illegal, but they happen anyways.” Said Igor. “Until recently, that is.”
“What do you mean?” asked Agent Randal
“The few companies that gave the tours have disappeared. They did not just close up shop, they vanished. No one has heard from them.” Said Igor
“So they were the first to be kidnapped?” asked Agent Randal
“Possibly. The kidnapping that you’re investigating was witnessed. Others were not. We will assume that all other missing persons reported the last few months are connected.” Said Igor
“And if they’re not?” asked Agent Randal
Igor Kozlov grinned. “We do not like having unsolved cases.”
* * * * *
Ryan and Sawyer managed to elude the guards and made it inside. Sawyer quietly closed the door behind them as Ryan checked his shotgun. The outside of the building looked like an apartment complex; however, many of the apartments had been demolished or remade into workshops and prison cells.
“What a nightmare this place is.” Said Sawyer. “I don’t want to be here a second longer than I need to be.”
“Imagine how Annie feels.” Said Ryan.
Sawyer nodded solemnly as he took the lead down the hall. The building was not a pleasant sight, but the structure was surprisingly sturdy; probably from being converted into a prison or factory. Or both.
Sawyer checked each prison cell, but each one was empty.
“Maybe they’ve moved them someplace else.” said Ryan
“No.” said Sawyer. “They’ve been here recently. Their scent is fresh.”
Suddenly, Sawyer heard some commotion down the hall.
“Someone’s coming!” said Sawyer.
“Quick! Get in this cell!” said Ryan
Sawyer ran into the cell, Ryan handed him his weapon, but stayed out.
“What are you doing!?” said Sawyer
A guard appeared with an exhausted prisoner. Once he saw Ryan, he threw the prisoner down and approached him.
“Shcho vy robyte tut?” the guard demanded in Ukrainian.
“Oh thank goodness I found someone!” said Ryan. “I seem to have lost my tour guide. Do you have a telephone I can use?”
“Vy ne mozhete buty tut! Pidemo zi mnoyu!” said the guard as he grabbed Ryan by the arm and tried to pull him down the hall.
“Whoa, easy there.” Said Ryan as he pulled his arm free.
The guard persisted and grabbed at Ryan’s arm again. This time, Ryan caught his wrist with one hand, pulled the guard towards him and slammed his elbow into the guard’s mouth. Stunned, the guard fumbled with his weapon. Ryan grabbed him by the hair and put his head in the door jamb, then stood on his back so he couldn’t move.
“Where is Annie Easton!” he demanded.
“іди к бісу!” said the guard
“I know you can understand me! Tell me where she is!” Ryan demanded again.
“You will die here, American!” said the guard.
“Tell me where she is, or you die first!” said Ryan
“She’s dead already! You’re too late!” said the guard, mockingly.
Ryan slammed the door shut on the guard’s head.
“What’s funny?” said Ryan as he slammed the door on his head again.
The guard’s laughter was replaced with a painful groan.
“Ryan, that’s enough!” said Sawyer. “Take his keys and lock him up so we can get moving!”
“So he can call for help?” said Ryan. “Not happening.”
Ryan slammed the door one last time. The guard did not move and did not make another sound. Sawyer winced and looked away as Ryan put the body in the cell.
Ryan and Sawyer approached the prisoner.
“Do you know where Annie Easton is being held?” asked Ryan
The prisoner, still lying on the floor, looked up at Ryan. “I have not seen her. Only heard her name mentioned. I think she’s alive though.” Said the prisoner.
“How do you know?” asked Ryan
“We’ve been waiting for her to complete a weapon so we can begin production.” Said the prisoner.
“What kind of weapon?” asked Ryan
“A virus or bacteria. Something like that. We were brought here to be slaves. To put the bacteria into missiles that would be fired at targets all over the world.” Said the prisoner.
“Did she make the bacteria?” asked Ryan
“Not yet. But they still have the missiles. Hundreds of them. They could still do a lot of damage alone, but with the bacteria, they could destroy entire nations.” Said the prisoner.
“What about this guy?” said Ryan as he showed him the picture of Sergei Petrov. “Have you seen him?”
“Yes, he also works on the machines.” Said the prisoner.
“What machines?” asked Ryan.
“The General’s army grows each day.” Said the prisoner. “Beware of his greatest weapon. He cannot be stopped when he is wearing it.”
“Wearing it?” said Sawyer out loud.
“What do you mean, he wears it?” asked Ryan
Just then, more sounds could be heard down the hall.
“Nevermind, just get out of here. Be careful, though. There’s still a bunch of robots outside.” Said Ryan.
The prisoner hurried down the hall and slipped out the door to freedom. Ryan and Sawyer carefully made their way towards the noise, hoping it was nothing. They followed the hall to a large open room with only one door on the other end. The door itself was huge. It was also much newer than the rest of the building. Ryan and Sawyer headed towards the door when suddenly, it flew open revealing a giant robot. It was larger than any they had fought yet.
“Prepare yourselves for destruction, you miserable fools!” cried General Evil
Ryan and Sawyer glanced around the room quickly, looking for General Evil, but then realized that his voice came from the robot. He stood 9 feet tall and was armed with a Gatling gun on each hand.
“Made yourself a new toy, eh, you prick?” said Ryan
General Evil unleashed the full fury of his robot suit on Ryan and Sawyer as they sprinted for cover, firing as they went. They made it to an old drill press that shielded them from the bullets, but their own shots caused no damage to the massive machine.
“We need to get to that big door!” cried Sawyer over the gunfire.
“No, you need to go! I’m staying for this guy!” Said Ryan. “I’ll cover for you!”
“No way, I’m not leaving you!” said Sawyer
Ryan grabbed Sawyer by the collar and pulled him towards his face, aggressively.
“Get Annie out of here!” said Ryan. “That’s your mission! Nothing else! Now go!”
With that, Ryan sprinted away from cover and away from the door. Sawyer hesitated for a moment, but then bolted for the door when he saw that General Evil was distracted. General Evil saw his mistake and tried to shift his fire towards Sawyer, turning his back on Ryan for a moment. Sawyer managed to escape and Ryan saw a weakness. He ran up to the General and fired a round of buckshot into the back of his exposed right knee. General Evil cried out in pain as he fell on that knee. Ryan attempted to shoot the other knee, but a 3 foot long blade shot out of General Evil’s right arm. The General slashed at Ryan, narrowly missing as he ducked at the last moment.
“You arrogant bastard!” cried General Evil. “You’ve cost me billions of dollars!”
“You kidnapped my wife!” countered Ryan. “To hell with your money!”
Ryan tried to get in closer, but General Evil’s left hand grabbed him around the waste and began to squeeze. Ryan was fading quickly and was about to pass out when he grabbed his knife from his pocket and slashed the hydraulic lines that powered the massive machine’s hand. Ryan managed to free himself and slash another of the robot’s hydraulic lines. This time, General Evil lost control of the machine and he fell flat on his face.
“Curse you!” said General Evil. “Curse your whole family!”
Ryan opened the back of the suit and stepped on General Evil’s back.
“I surrender!” said General Evil.
Ryan just stood over him, waiting.
“Now what? You arrest me? Turn me in to the Ukrainian authorities? I will be back. You can’t stop me.” Said General Evil.
Again, Ryan just stood over the General.
“Get off of me, you fool! Get me medical attention!” demanded General Evil
Ryan grabbed the General, picked him up and threw him back down on his back. He then stepped on his wounded leg. General Evil screamed in pain as Ryan shoved his shotgun into the General’s mouth. General Evil gagged eyes wide open in fear.
“You have no idea the pain you’ve caused me.” Said Ryan. “When you attacked me and Sawyer in Romoskovia, I was mad. When you attacked us again and took Sawyer, I was pissed off. But then you came after Annie.”
General Evil began sweating as he gasped for air, Ryan’s shotgun barrel still forced into his mouth.
“You changed me. I used to be a decent guy that just wanted to watch hockey and go fishing on the weekends. Because of you, I have not seen my wife in months. Because of you, I’m wanted for her murder and she’s not even dead.” Said Ryan.
General Evil tried to talk, but it was incoherent.
“Your time is up. And you will not die painlessly.” Said Ryan.
With that, he stabbed General Evil in the chest and twisted the knife. His eyes rolled back as he struggled with the knife, but Ryan held it in. Within moments, the General was gone.