Chapter 3

I met Stafford back at 325 Ocean and he filled me in on the details. After they reached the precinct, they questioned him on my whereabouts. Asking what all of this was about, they said that I had killed multiple government agents and there was a warrant out for my arrest. My face flashed on TV screens everywhere, and I was considered armed and dangerous.

I punched the door in frustration. I paid almost no attention to the pain, too preoccupied in my current predicament. I had been set up, and I knew it. There was no way that they would have found out that I had even shot anybody that fast. The warrant for my arrest had gone out at 0724, barely minutes after I had arrived at the facility.

I suddenly knew what this was about. The government project was so top secret they would frame one of their own just to keep the lid shut on it all. I had stumbled on it, I had snooped, and now I was paying the price.

"What did the NSA agent say?" I asked, trying to keep my mind focused.

"Not much. He just said they were wanted criminals who escaped from a maximum security prison. You get anything interesting on your part?"

I shrugged. "The man I talked to said that they made test tube babies and turned them into super soldiers."

"What was his name? He just said that openly?" Stafford asked, surprised.

I shrugged again, "Yeah, but then he tried to kill me, so I killed him first."

Stafford shook his head in disbelief, "Wait, so they're not kidnapping kids off the street? They're creating random kids? They're cloning kids?"

I sighed, "I guess they used to kidnap kids, then as the technology became available, they starting creating them."

Stafford stood up, "Look Matt, I can't be seen with you anymore. I was followed when I left the precinct, it took me a while, but I lost them." Stafford cracked the door open and peeked outside, "I'll keep in touch with anything I learn, but unless you want to give yourself up, you're going to have to keep a low profile until we clear your name."

I scoffed, "Yeah, like that's gonna happen. The government's got this thing covered up tightly." I turned to Sam and Zero Eight, and they looked back at me with sympathy.

"Mind if I stay with you guys?" I asked.

Sam turned to Zero Eight, and he nodded.

"We'll get this whole thing straightened out. But for now, you need to go to ground."

I nodded in agreement. "Think you can get me a car?" I asked.

He took out his keys and tossed them to me. "Take mine. It's my personal car, just don't mess it up too much. I'll take the other car back."

I handed him the keys to the car with the blown rear window.

"What're you gonna do? Run into Mexico maybe?" he asked.

"Well," I began, "I was thinking I'd-"

He held up his hands, stopping me mid-sentence, "Never mind, I don't want to know. The less I know, the better."

I nodded, I knew he was right.

He peeked out the door again, "I'll see you around, Matt." and with that, he took off towards the car, and drove off.

I turned to Sam and Zero Eight. "So, what now?" I asked.

"No sense wasting our time here. Let's go." Zero Eight said.

We cautiously left the building, and headed for Stafford's car. I got into the drivers seat, and started driving north, back towards LA.

"Where we going?" Sam asked.

I honestly didn't know the answer to that. I thought I'd just keep driving until I felt like stopping.

I still couldn't entirely swallow my situation. I was running from the very law, the very government, I swore to protect, and I was running with two genetically engineered super soldiers. Where was there to hide? By now, all of California must know my face.

I told myself that I'd be damned if I went to prison for a crime I didn't commit. There were two other people in this car with me who didn't commit any crimes either. Rather, they were forced into a nut job program away from their family, while they were barely adolescents.

Super soldiers or not, they were entitled to the same rights as every other citizen in the country. They asked me for help when I was a NDA agent, and I told them I would. I wasn't going to skip out on my promise just because I was now wanted. Just because the situation changed, I didn't.

I drove north for hours, the same thoughts just looping through my mind. I didn't know where I was driving to, I didn't know when I would stop, but driving just felt like the right thing to do.

Finally, somewhere north of Los Angeles, I pulled over into a motel parking lot and fished my wallet out of my back pocket. I took out a twenty dollar bill and turned, "Sam, take this and get us a room." she nodded and left.

Zero Eight looked at me expectantly, while I put my wallet back into my pocket. Finally, I asked, "What?"

He smiled and shook his head, "'Sam'?"

I shrugged, "I just thought maybe she should have a better name than One Four."

Zero Eight leaned forward from his seat in the back, "What about me, Agent Robb? Do I get a name?"

"Sure, whatever you want." I replied.

He leaned back into his seat and put on a look of deep thought. It was almost comical.

"How about… Eric." he finally said.

I shrugged, "Whatever you want." I said, apathetically.

He nodded and smiled. "Eric." he repeated.

Sam got back and handed me a room key. "Second floor, room 204." she said.

I looked around to see if we were maybe being watched.

We were in a mostly deserted area way north of the Project Heracles facility. There was a gas station and this motel, but other than that, there was mostly just dirt and sand. Mountains to our east, and the coast out of site to our west.

Finally satisfied that we weren't being watched, I opened the car door and quickly headed for the second story of the motel.

The room wasn't exactly the nicest, but I had lived in worse. There were two single sized beds, a old chair, a bathroom that looked like one you'd find in an old, run down fast food restaurant, and one closet.

I sat on the chair and took out my sidearm from my holster. I slipped the magazine out and checked how many rounds I had left. Twelve, plus one in the chamber. I reinserted the magazine and made sure the safety was still on safe, before placing it back into my holster.

"Nice digs." Zero Eight, or, Eric, said.

Sam shrugged, "It's better than nothing.

"So, what do we do now?" she asked while examining an odd stain on the opposite wall.

I honestly didn't know. "Well, we can't figure this thing out just by sitting around. First, we need a little more firepower." I said, looking at my holstered 9 millimeter.

Eric spoke this time, "I know a guy. What do you need?"

"A few more magazines, at least, and a few boxes of rounds. I don't need much more than that."

He nodded, "Sure thing. Can I take the car? I'll be back in a few hours with the stuff."

I looked at him surprised, "Seriously? Where are you gonna get the cash for that?"

He shrugged, "Like I said, I know a guy. He owes me a favor."

I fished the keys out of my pocket and tossed it to him, "Be back in a flash." he said.

I loosened the tie on my now quite dirtied suit, and took off the jacket.

I sat back down and rubbed my temples. "This is not my day." I said tiredly.

"You need sleep." Sam said bluntly. "You've been up for a long time."

She was right, but I didn't want to admit it. I had too much on my mind to go to bed. I was too worried.

"No, no I'm fine." I said.

She looked at me, unbelieving, "You're not a super soldier, are you?" she asked.

I shook my head no.

"Then you need to sleep."

I sighed in resignation and lied in one of the beds.

"Corpsman!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, "Help!"

I didn't know what was going on exactly, but I knew it wasn't very good.

The 1MC screeched to life, "This is not…drill…Quarters, General Quarters! All hands…-tle stations! Go up and for-board side, down and aft on your…side…Quarters, Gener-…" and the 1MC failed.

I struggled, but finally got up on my knees. I looked at my arm, and was grateful that it wasn't missing. I tried to navigate my way around, but the place was filled with smoke, I could barely see three feet in front of me.

"Agent Robb." I shot up in the bed.

"Whoa, easy there." Eric said, holding his hands up. "I got the stuff you wanted."

He handed me three boxes and three more magazines, all filled with fifteen rounds. "Sorry I took so long."

I looked at my watch, 09:24PM. I had been asleep longer than I had planned, but at least I felt a little better.

"So, what now?" Eric asked.

I rubbed my eyes, "Now? I think I'm going to take a shower."

I got up out of the bed and entered the bathroom. Fifteen minutes later, I came out, feeling a lot better than I had a few hours ago. Sure, I was still wanted by the federal government, but at least I was semi-well rested and clean.

Sam had gone to sleep on one of the beds, while Eric was sitting, looking out the window.

"What's up?" I asked him.

He shrugged. "Making sure nobody comes looking for us."

I nodded, "Thanks for the supplies."

I started walking towards the chair when he asked, "Had a nightmare?"

I sighed, "Yeah, I guess. Happens every once in a while." I said.

He turned back and looked at me from the window, "What happened?"

"It's nothing." I said.

He turned back to the window, uncaring. "Get some sleep. Sam and I will keep watch tonight."

"No, you should get some sleep, I just slept. I can keep watch." I protested.

He tried to contain his laughter, though he didn't do it very well. "No offense, but we're super soldiers. This is what we were made for."

I shook my head. 'What they were made for.' Something about that just didn't seem right.

I knew as much as they did that their original parents didn't plan to give them to the government to experiment on. They didn't plan to give up their children to turn them into soldiers, never getting to talk to them, never getting to see them, again.

I went to the other bed and fell asleep with my head full of thoughts.

"Rise and shine." I heard Eric say, as he shook my bed.

I stretched and instinctively looked at my watch. It was 0630.

Sleep was always a gift, a privilege, to me. It seemed like I never did get enough of it, but I still had to run at one hundred percent all the time. It had been this way since my years in the Navy all those years ago.

Well, I hadn't been in the Navy too long ago. I was only a NDA agent for two years or so now. I had joined the US Navy at 17 years old, and stayed for a full eight years, before joining the NDA, getting an honorable discharge as a first class petty officer.

"So, what's the plan again?" Eric asked.

I still hadn't thought anything up. I rubbed my eyes, still trying to wake up. "I'm open to suggestions."

"What if we go public?" Sam spoke up, "Tell the newspapers, tell the media, tell them the entire story."

I sighed, "I doubt anybody will believe us. Except maybe, tabloids, and nobody believes those, so that's no use. And if we reveal ourselves, it'll probably be easier to track us down. No, we need proof, then we go to the media."

Eric shrugged, "How do we get proof?"

"And that's our problem." I said in resignation.

"Someone's coming." Sam said as she peeked out the window.

Eric and I rushed up to the window. Three men in suits were walking through the parking lot, towards the motel, weapons drawn.

"I think they're looking for us." Eric said, with a hint of sarcasm.

I grabbed my 9 millimeter and tossed the rest of the ammunition in the duffle bag. "We gotta go."

They nodded in agreement. But the three men were almost here, and the only way out was right past them.

Eric and Sam took positions on either side of the door and waited. "No one gets killed." I said. Sam nodded, and Eric rolled his eyes.

I ran up against the wall, next to Sam, and waited.

There was a knock at the door. "Mr. Robb?" they called.

There was another knock, then a small click-

They had a key, the door was unlocked.

The door opened and in a flash, the two super soldiers went to work. Sam pulled the arm of one of them and threw them into the room, Eric followed suit with the second person before they even knew what hit them.

The third man instinctively ran in, but was leveled with a right hook. He was out cold. The entire ordeal had occurred in what must have been under five seconds.

"What now?" Sam asked.

I looked at the three men sprawled across the floor, all of them were knocked out cold. Then I looked through the window. "That's odd. They wouldn't have just sent three agents. There would be cops swarming this place right now. I don't know why they'd be here alone."

Eric laughed, "That's 'cause they're not government agents." he opened the wallet of one of the men, revealing a NSA ID. Then he took out another ID with the word 'HERACLES' in black bold lettering across the top.

That's when it all hit me. Heracles wasn't a government cover up, it wasn't a government project. But whose project was it? And how did a corporation manage to frame me for murder of government agents? It seemed like the more questions that were answered, the foggier the entire picture actually was.

"We gotta go. Now." I said.

I retrieved the duffle bag and ran for the car, hoping they didn't have other "government" agents in the area.

I hopped in the driver's seat and took off as soon as Eric and Sam was in, repeatedly checking the rear view mirror to see if we were followed. We weren't.

"Where we goin' now?" Eric asked.

I shook my head. I honestly didn't know, all I knew was that I had to talk to Stafford.