A/n: Well, this account is nearly dead, but I might as well give it a few last hooray's... This story is damn near completion, as well. So there you have it.

Chapter IV: Alliance

Her body was lifted off of mine, into the shadows above. A silhouetted figure was standing over me, I couldn't make out any features. As my eyes began to adjust, there was a brief flash of light above his head, and an explosion.

Blood, intestines, and all manner of bodily innards rained down upon him. A slimy red coat smothered his deceptively calm demeanor. Hard, chiseled features contorted into a smile, and he offered his hand. Unable to do anything but comply, I accepted it, and he helped me to my feet. As soon as his icy blue eyes met mine, a look of bewildered confusion overtook them. I receded away, and he began searching around him.

"Fucking shit!" He faced away from me, looking down at the broken corpse of my assailant. "G-gluttony,... I-" The man turned around, stopping me in the middle of my escape attempt. "You!" His eyes bulged in their sockets, and with no further warning, he attacked.

I had no time to think, and frankly, that was a good thing. Pure instinct saved me from the madman's lunge. A side-step, followed by a kick to the back of his knee. He buckled, and the advantage was mine.

Gluttony's knife was on the ground beside me. It was a good knife, perfect weight, and sharp, too. Like a razor, with an embossed handle. Serpentine grooves traced along the grip, digging into my hand. It was a work of art; better than anything I ever had in the army. I pressed the edge ever so slightly into the man's throat. "Who are you?"

He let out a grunt of superiority before tossing me over his shoulder like a rag doll. A sinister grin was plastered on his face, and he drew his weapon once more - a sawn-off shotgun, with a bayonet attached. "They call me 'The Rage.'" The blade rushed down toward my face, I barely rolled out of the way in time. I sprang to my feet, while the rage struggled to pull his weapon from the ground. I tightened my grip over the knife, and decided to go on an offensive.

I started with a roundhouse kick aimed at his face. He dodged backwards, leaving his gun embedded in the ground. I rushed forward, knife in-hand, only to be caught by a hammer-blow fist to the face. An uppercut wrenched my bowels, and a hay-maker sent me back to the floor, and everything went black.

'Are you going to give up that easily?' Marlene again. All I want is rest, and she wouldn't give it to me. 'Some role model you are...' Even in my memories, she mocks me, she thinks I'm pathetic. I have to prove her wrong.

All the willpower in my body goes into the simple act of opening my eyes. When I do, the first thing I see is 'the Rage' standing over me, grinning, sawn-off shotgun in-hand. I refuse to allow myself to be intimidated, rising to my feet with a leg-sweep maneuver. He dodges back, and I follow-up with a full-body tackle. he doesn't have time to react, and I pin both his arms down with my legs. I press the knife into his throat, just enough to draw blood. I don't want to kill him, I need answers first. "How many of you are there?"

He stared blankly at me for a moment, then a smirk found its way to his mouth. "You're a pretty smart guy, why don't you tell me?"

"Seven, am I right?" He didn't respond, so I increased pressure to his throat. He began laughing. "What's so funny?" He didn't say a word, opting instead to laugh harder. He eventually stopped and shook his head.

"You don't get it, do you?" He tore his arm from under me, clasping great, sausage-like fingers around my throat. I dropped my knife, desperately trying to stop him from choking me. My vision was blurring again, but I couldn't hear her voice. Instead, all I could hear was a soft chop-chopping. A bright light washed over us, and next thing I know, a hail of glass shards washes over us. The Rage lets go of me to shield himself, and the barrages stops. That was when I noticed the source: a military-style helicopter.

It was a deep crimson, blending in with the overcast sky. A halogen spotlight hung on its underside, illuminating the room. It hovered there idly, watching my every move. It was invasive and uncomfortable; a blood-red invader. I could tell that the Rage felt the same way too.

"It's too soon..." I heard him mumble. "We still haven't found it."

I turned to face him, find out what the hell he was talking about. The rage had drawn his shotgun once more, and made a noise equally animalistic and human; A high-pitched screech, and he lunged at me single-mindedly. The only thing I could think of was to rush back into the cubicle maze. The Helicopter fenced-off the window, and I needed an escape.

I heard a bang as I leaped over a wall, checking to see how much disance I gained. A hand grasped my ankle, I could hear a grunt that sounded like a laugh. My free leg kicked his face, and he let go. A thud behind me signaled him climbing over the walls after me. I doubled back, ahead just enough to delay him by doing as such. I ducked below a wall and ran along the row. I thought I had lost him.

I round a corner, and he's directly in front of me, waiting. Nowhere to run, I pull my knife, no choice but to fight. I lunge forward at my heavily muscled adversary. He catches my arm effortlessly, but receives my free elbow to his face. The Rage reels backwards, and I lunge after him.

It was only a feint, but he was ready for my attack, countering with a backwards roundhouse kick. I duck under, ready to strike upwards with a stab. His knee rushes past my head, missing by a fraction of an inch. I smile, continuing my thrust. A foot plants firmly into my back, launching me face-first ground-wards. He turned me into a stepping-stone to avoid my attack; all the while launching one of his one. The man knows his stuff.

The click of his gun reloading is a cacaphony, taunting my failure. I need to act fast. A sharp, animalistic screech behind me. No time to think, I catch myself on my hands, cartwheeling out of the way. But something went wrong, A slicing pain in the bottom of my foot told me as much. He had caught me, but just barely.

Blood rushed to my head as I was dragged along upside-down. My free leg kicked at my captured one, until my shoe came off and I landed with a thud just in time to watch my shoe explode from a single shotgun blast. Fresh on an adrenaline high, I leg swept him to the ground, rising to my feet in the process. The thought of finishing him off crossed my mind, but for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to do it. Something about all this didn't feel right, so I decided to run.

I kept the knife, it was my best bet, should things get bad. I dumped-off my remaining shoe, running lop-sided wasn't an option. My destination was all that mattered, my destination was forward. Long, leaping strides kept me ahead of the rage, but just barely. To make matters wore, I didn't have any semblance of a plan. Before I had realized it, I was cornered in some sort of records room.

File cabinets lined each and every wall, rows and rows of industrial steel drawers, filled to the brim with various documents. I closed and locked the door behind me, anything to buy some time. The second I had reached the far end, the door exploded behind me. "Nowhere to run..." He spoke calmly, and that was somehow scarier.

His anmalistic screech resurfaced, and the muscle-bound madman covered the distance between us in seconds. I deflected his lunge downwards; his shot forced my hand upwards. he swung for my head, and I ducked under. I lunged for his midsection, he backed away. The rage reared back once more, I dove out of the way, and he jammed his blade into the file cabinet. A single blast sent a hail of confetti all around us, and I had already begun to make a run for it. He didn't seem to follow me, but I didn't know for sure. I was too scared to look back.

About five steps into my head-start, a blow from behind sends me face-first into the ground. He flips me over, and all i see is his grizzly face, looking down with contempt. A fist connects with my face, and my brain goes into a haze. I drive my blade into his shoulder, and he's barely fazed. We exchange a series of blows to each other's faces, all to no effect. He had given up his weapon, and by no choice of mine, I had done the same. Gathering all the strength I could muster, I kicked him off of me, and through sheer will power, I managed to my feet.

He paws at me like a hungry bear, I seem to be winning the battle of stamina. I duck, retaliating wit an uppercut, sending him reeling. He backs into a boxing stance, and I follow suit. We trade a few blows, he delivers hay-makers that I dodge easily, while I opt for more quick, cheap shots. He throws another wild punch, I barely dodge to the side. The second is accompanied by a gust of wind that could've knocked me off my feet. Adrenaline surges through me, and I deliver a good fist to his face. The Rage retaliates with a hefty blow to my gut, leaving me out of breath. I was stunned, and he took complete advantage. Cold steel penetrates my shoulder, and my feet leave the ground behind. Everything starts to fade to black...

"Are you giving up?" The voice is tinged with disgust.

"Wh-what do you want me to do?"
She laughed in response. "Tell him it's not over yet!"

My eyes snapped open at the encouragement, leaving the rage with a look of utter disbelief. I pulled my knife from his arm, and jammed it into his throat. His free hand clutched his injury, but he wouldn't let me go. My foot instinctively rammed into his groin, and I dropped to the ground, his weapon still embedded in my arm. I decided to make a run for it yet again. I had broken my promise, and didn't want to face the fact.

I went back the way I had came, through a path laid out through the cubicle labyrinth, and past the shattered window pane. The crimson chopper had seemingly moved on, and it could very wel be anywhere. Hiding was no longer a valid option. I hoped the Rage was dead, but a part of me said he wasn't, so I needed to put some distance between us. I ditched his weapon somewhere along the way, and headed for the stairwell.

I duck down a set of steps, but the second I reach the landing, I'm blinded by a white light. A mechanical chop-chopping overwhelmed my hearing, and an arm latched around my throat, accompanied by warm, wet breath tickling my inner ear.

An obviously fake Russian accent: "Do not move, comrade..."

A/n: Oooh, cliffhanger, eh? The next chappie should clear a lot up. Expect it sometime before this upcoming March.