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Chapter Eleven
Grief and a Cry For Help

Four days later.

A memorial was held for those perished in the mission that went wrong in the gymnasium of the Los Angeles Air Force Base. People spoke about the soldiers and all the memories of them. Jake was chosen to talk about Wagner. Dressed in full forest green uniform like all the other recruits in the room, he slowly walked up to the podium. He showed no emotion as he spoke.

“Scott K. Wagner…most of you probably didn’t know him, but for those who did, you would know that he was a unique character amongst the recruits here. Before he came here, he was a reckless delinquent, but when he was put in military school, it changed his life. A lot has happened in his past, and it wasn’t just about being the delinquent, but he had managed to pull through and start life over again. He was given a second chance.”

Jake looked over to where his friends were. Debbie’s eyes were misty as she listened. Then, he looked at Cammy, who tried all she could from becoming hysterical. He stopped there and continued with his speech.

“Life. Most of us take it for granted, and we don’t realize what we have until it’s too late. I’ve lost those I’ve known during my duty here, but this is one that has affected me the most. I am proud to have known Wagner and we became roommates. He taught me that life shouldn’t be all serious. I admired his carefree spirit, even though sometimes he could go overboard. I guess that’s why fate had us meet. We helped each other balance out with my seriousness and his wittiness. Wagner and I met when he came to this base two years ago. And within those two years, he grew up, has learned his mistakes, and became one of the best recruits I’ve known.”

He looked up again. Guile sat with his wife and daughter, who were both crying. Guile’s face was grim and he looked much older than five days ago. Then, he heart sank when he looked at Liz, who sat next to her father who had the same look on his face as Guile’s. Liz was fine until he went up. She quietly sobbed as Jake gave out his speech. He sighed and continued.

“The last four days have not only been grim, but also eerie for me. Wagner wasn’t the quietest person in the world, even if he tried and I always found myself waking up to he scurrying around his room trying to find his notebooks before he was late to class. Now I wake up to silence, and never in my life had I ever thought that the sound of silence would be disturbing to me.”

Then, Jake’s emotions caught up with him as he tried to choke back tears. He cleared his throat and read the last portion of his speech.

“But, we know now that Wagner, along with the other recruits, are in a better place, free from pain, free from war, free from everything that’s hard to bare. Even when I get old and sit in my rocking chair many years from now, I will always remember Wagner. He’s one of those people you could never forget.”

Once he ended his speech, he took his papers and walked off the stage. And instead of returning to he seat, he ran out of the gymnasium and into the hallway. His girlfriend Debbie watched and once he was out, she went after him.

Debbie thought he was heading back to the dorms, but it turned out that he didn’t even leave the hallway of the gymnasium. Jake learned his back against the wall and looked up at the ceiling.

“Jake,” Debbie whispered. Jake looked over at her as she walked closer to him and embraced him. And for the first time since he could remember, he broke down into what seemed like endless tears after hold his emotions for days.

After the memorial Liz immediately returned to her room not wanting to deal with anyone’s sympathies. She locked herself in and slid to the floor, her back leaning again the door. For what seemed like hours, she quietly sobbed as flashes of her days with Wagner came to her. It was only one day…one day before he perished that they had, after years, shared their first kiss. She had only wished that she was able to share more with him, just a few more days to have him and hold me.

Why?’ she demanded to no one. ‘Why was he taken so soon! Damn Shadowlaw! I’ve have my revenge one day!

It was then that she remembered something. She quickly got up and went into her top draw of her desk. Quickly, she found the golden pin of a skull with wings from a previous mission. It then hit her.

She had previously dealt with them! And back when she showed her father the pin, he had told her that he knew nothing about it. He had lied to her for that yesterday, he had gone over plans for the operation to rescue the 8 being held for ransom. She knew he had been dealing with them for years.

Liz’s sorrow soon turned into extreme anger. She clutched the pin and began making her way to her father’s office. She was in luck that he was in his office going over his paperwork. She didn’t even bother to knock and went right in startling the General. Once she got to his desk, she slammed her hand down and left the pin on his desk.

General McCall looked at the pin at first, then he brought his eyes to his daughter’s. He became more startled when he saw nothing but anger and coldness in those pool of ocean blue.

Liz spoke with a growl. “You lied to me! You told me you knew nothing of this symbol!”

McCall then recalled his previous meeting with Liz. “I, I didn’t know how to tell you.”

“Yeah, sure,” she spat. “Father, I may be your daughter, but I’m still a recruit! You can’t just got ahead and protect me. My job is also to serve our country and I’m not going to be treated like a little kid!”

“It was for your own good, Liz. Not everyone here knows about Shadowlaw-”

“Only the new recruits don’t know much of them! I’ve been involved in the military since I was 13, I think I should know more about this organization by now! I don’t understand, why would you keep this from me?”

McCall sighed. “I had hoped that you would never get involved in a mission involving them. When your mother died, I had swore to her that I would protect you from harm. You desired to join the military and I didn’t want to deny your request.”

Liz let out a sigh. “So you feel that this is the only way to keep your promise? Daddy, I’m not a little girl anymore. I’m old enough to take on these kinds of responsibilities. If I had known sooner who Shadowlaw was, I would’ve been more prepared. Maybe more people would be alive by now…maybe even Wagner.” At the mentioning of his name brought tears to her eyes then.

McCall walked over to his only daughter and embraced her. “I’m sorry Liz. I just wish I was a better farther.”

Liz brought her arms around her father. “Don’t say that. You brought me up well and you should be proud. Just promise me that you won’t keep secrets like that from me.”

“I promise Liz. I love you sweetheart.”

“I love you too Daddy.” From there, Liz wept and her father held her close letting her pour out her sorrow.

Dinner at the Guile residence was silent, just like the last four nights. Cammy had been staying there more than in her dorm since. She, Guile, Jane, and Amy ate their roast beef dinner silently trying to clear their minds.

Then, Jane broke the silence. “Um, could someone pass the potatoes?”

In silence, Guile brought over the bowl of potatoes and Jane received them. Amy sat there picking her food before eating it. Cammy ate her food slowly and so did Guile and Jane.

Guile shift his eyes to his right at the empty chair near him, the chair Wagner had sat in when meals were served. He began to miss the nights when Wagner would purposely scratch the plate with the knife making the sound as thought someone scratched their nails on a chalk board. It was indeed annoying, but it was funny how, somehow, he had wished to hear it again.

Just as everyone finished their dinner, the phone rang. Guile slowly got up, headed to the phone on the wall, and picked up the receiver. “Guile residence.”

“Guile, this is General McCall! I need you to come to my office now, it’s urgent.”

“I’m on it.” Guile said before hanging on.

Jane slowly walked over to Guile with a worried look on her face. She always hated it whenever he said ‘I’m on it.’ It always meant that something was up and it usually wasn’t good.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

Guile grabbed his black jacket and put it on. “That was the General, it was urgent and he wants me at his office right away. That’s all he said.” He planted kisses on Jane and Amy’s forehead, nodded at Cammy and left.

Once he got there, Guile quickened his walking pace in order to get to the office so that the suspense of what was to come would leave his shoulders. When he finally did reach the office, only McCall and two dispatchers were in the office.

The two men saluted each other before McCall spoke. “Guile, you know Clark and Leon the dispatchers. Well, you know that the army had sent out military recruits to check on all-known bases belonging to Shadowlaw. We managed to get something quite interesting from the base near Thailand.” He took out a tape, which was on whatever spot that was to be played and put it in the tape recorder.

Guile stayed silent as McCall pressed the play button. At first, there was only the sounds of footsteps before what sounded like a cell door opening. A voice was heard, and unrecognizable one belonging to a male. Guile couldn’t make out what the person was saying, but then soon screams were heard and there were electric-like sounds. Guile slightly winced at the sound.

Then the screams stopped, but before the last person stopped, Guile’s heart jumped in his throat. He had recognized that scream.

Wagner’s scream.

“General!” Guile called out. “I just recognized that last scream. That belonged to Wagner!”

The three in the room became stunned by Guile’s discovery. “Are you sure?” McCall asked.

“Of course, I’ve been around him since he was 15, I’d know that scream anywhere.”

“Then that means our men are being held hostage at the base near Thailand.” He then looked at Guile seriously. “I know you have been in a situation like this before. Are you willing to lead a small group in there?”

“I’m always sure. Tomorrow I will handpick a team and we will head over there the following morning.”

“No more than 10, I don’t want us to be notice, but I also don’t want to lose many at the same time.” Then McCall went into a whisper. “Don’t lose your cool Major General. I past can get to you.”

“You know I will. Right now I’d do anything to get my son back.”

To Chapter Twelve

iceangelmkx

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