The head sock covering Brenton’s head is quickly ripped off. As he comes to, his eye adjusts to the light, but vision a bit blurred. He grunts as he tries to lift his arms but he’s strapped to a chair. He tries to muscle loose but is unsuccessful. He lifts his head a looks around. In a dark lit small room, he is surrounded by several men.
“What the hell is this,” asks Brenton, extremely frustrated.
“Geuleul ttaelyeo,” is heard from one of the men in a Korean accent, then…
Brenton is punched hard across the face.
“Tensions rose in the Sea of Japan this morning as U.S. and Japanese naval forces came to a standoff with North Korean and Russian warships.”
The television channel changes.
“The President is set to visit with the President of Italy today to discuss on the ongoing conflict with China.”
The television channel changes.
“We are live here on the ground in Seoul where South Korean troops have bombarded the DMZ and made their way into South Korea!”
The television channel changes.
“It seems the Prime Minister of Canada and the Kremlin just cannot get on the same page, and this could be disastrous in these troubling times.”
The television channel changes.
“The fire erupted here in London just moments ago! The Ministry of Defense has ruled out terrorism as it seems Chinese warplanes have just entered the airspace!”
The television is turned off. A woman looks over his shoulder to see Brenton Cross the remote in her hand.
“We need to leave.”
“What’s going on, Brenton?” she asks with a tear in her eye.
“The President has just declared a state of emergency. We have to report to base,” answers Brenton.
“So much for our leave.”
The both begin packing their military style duffel bags, in a rush. Brenton’s wife removes her clothing and changes into a military uniform matching Brenton’s own. They head out the front door into their drive, toss their bags into the back of a HUM-V and get in, with Brenton behind the wheel. They back out the driveway fast and drive down the road. Inside the vehicle, Brenton’s wife turns on the radio.
“U.S., Japanese, and Italian forces have been dispatched to the Sea of Japan to confront the ongoing thread by the South Koreans. The President has declared a state of emergency, and the Secretary of Defense has put on an alert to the west coast that a nuclear threat is possible. Local authorities and the National Guard are aiding in sending people to bomb shelters.” is heard on the radio.
“Oh my god,” says Brenton’s wife.
They pull up to a military compound with signs reading “Fort Hood”. They show the MP’s their identifications and are let into the compound. They park the HUM-V and enter a building, hustling. They enter a situation room where several soldiers are standing awaiting answers and orders. A door in the back of the room opens and enters The Commander.
“Quiet down, people.”
Everyone halts their conversations.
The commander sighs… “I’ve just been informed that the President has been assassinated.”
The room erupts with surprise and side conversations begin.
“All right, let’s settle down. The Vice President is about to be sworn in, and his first actions will be mobilizing our units on the border and to California to protect the coast. Anti-missile technology will take affect but it isn’t a guarantee. Intel reports that the Chinese navy is heading across the Pacific and we will intercept, so I need everyone on their A-Game. Let’s move!”
Brenton sits against a building wall in an alley, counting his earning from Rumble at the Rock. He puts the money in his back pock and pulls out his video transmitter.
“This is Cross to base. Still not receiving any incoming transmission, but I will continue to report. Cash winnings should take care of the travel, food, and new ring gear. Timeline is in tact, LSD Championship on the line next week. Phase 2 has completely been carried out, and I’ve overseen preparations for Phase 3. As predicted, I was given the opportunity to take on Max Kael for the LSD Title. It truly is amazing to see history unfolding before my eyes in real time, both as it once happened before, and how things are changing.”
Brenton’s nose starts randomly bleeding.
“The nose bleeds weren’t part of the training. I’m suspecting that the bleeds are being caused by a strain of the hippocampus in my brain, and the time paradoxes could be altering the memory portion of the hippcampus. Either way, simply, it’s just annoying.”
He uses a spare shirt to stop the bleeding, holding it to his nose and he continues talking.
“Keeping an eye on the news, just as it happened before, North Korea’s aggression is escalating, and we’re only less than two weeks out until Un secretly meets with the Russians. The summit last week was a disaster, and Phase 3 must be implemented in order to intercept the initial pre-war tactics. Also…. as predicted, there’s Max Kael, sitting in the wings, the smoking gun. His participation in all this has major repercussions that must see the timeline altered. Phase 3 calls for the worst, but I will complete my mission, no matter the cost. Kael is corrupted, mad, and a danger to us all. Wars are started by madmen who take advice from other madmen. The worst is that not only does Max have power here in HOW, he’s holding four of a kind with North Korea. We just have to find that royal flush, and flush him out.”
“Two minutes to rendezvous.” says the pilot.
Brenton looks out the helicopter window at the carnage below.
“It’s been completely wiped out!” yells another soldier.
“We had to do what we had to do.” says Brenton in a calm voice as he looked down on what was once Iran. The buildings are burning and crumbled, cars are flipped over, bodies lie everywhere.
“Brace!” yells the pilots as suddenly the helicopter is flooded with bullet holes. The pilot makes an evasive maneuver to avoid the fire coming from below from the last resistance of the Iranians. The chopper takes cover behind a burning building. “Go! Go! Go!”
Brenton and the other soldiers drop ropes out and repel down onto the ground. They are met by another platoon.
“We’re not alone! The Russians just parachuted a whole regiment south of Tehran!”
“God, what the fuck did we get ourselves into!” cries a frightened soldier.
“Get a hold of yourself, soldier!” warns Brenton. “We need to take the city ASAP! I just got word that the Canadians are about to hit the Vatican! Let’s move!”
The soldiers disperse as Brenton hesitates and takes in the surroundings. He looks to his left at a destroyed building, and left on the foundation are some propaganda posters. He walks up to them, barely hanging on in the wind. He rips one of the posters off the wall, holding it in his hand. He wipes the dust off of it as it shows a photo of Max Kael in front of the Ryongsong Residence.
Brenton comes to.
“Geuneun kkaeeonassda,” says one of the Koreans.
Brenton looks around, surrounded by the several mafia looking Korean men. Then the one in the middle crouches down to eye level with Brenton.
“Da time traveleh,” he says in a thick accent.
They lock eyes, not speaking for a moment.
“Choo werk American government?” he asks.
“I’m a sergeant in the Marine Corps, if you want to call that working for the American government, then so be it,” answers Cross.
Brenton is punched across the face again.
“I’m not lying.”
“Choo American lying scum! Der no Brenton Cross in Marines!”
“That’s because there won’t be one for another seven years, dipshit,” counters Brenton.
“Ahhhhh, I shuppose choo come in time machine, huh? Choo come naked, make big circle in ground!” he taunts, Brenton as the rest of the Koreans laugh.
“It’s a bit more technical than that but-”
Brenton is punched in the face again, this time busting his upper lip open.
“No more! You tell us…. what choo know about…. Max….Kael.”
Brenton doesn’t answer the question.
“Choo American spyyyyy! Tell us about Max Kael!”
Brenton stays quiet.
“Ahhh, tough gee, eh?! We have things for tough gees like you. We take only eye. Choo look too much like Kael.”
Brenton tries to escape the chair but with no avail. One of the other Korean men walks up with a pair of pliers. Then he rips Brenton’s eyepatch off, only to expose what is a perfectly good eye, but with scar tissue around it. Brenton looks around, now just noticing he has the sight of both his eyes.
“Fucking a, it’s healed,” he says to himself, convinced the time traveling process has regenerated his eye to its earlier state.
“Ahhh, then we take both. Lash chance. Choo tell us what you know about Kael.”
“I know Max Kael is an egomaniac who’s self-destruction places him at the heels of your Supreme Leader. He eventually becomes the barking dog to Kim’s military. He pulls the strings and moves the chess pieces in what is to become the last of all the wars on planet Earth. You think what you’re doing now is protecting your leader and your country but what ultimately ends up happening, is that you become slaves to the Chinese to act at their will to try and tear down nations like the US and Germany.”
The Koreans listen.
“What you don’t know is that North Korea becomes ground zero for one of seven nuclear drops that eventually sends humankind to their extinction. The longer you have me tied to this chair, the more likely these events are to take place. You’re actually working against yourselves by having me here, when my mission calls to save you all.”
The Koreans take in what Brenton says for a moment, then they burst into uncontrollable laughter.
“Chimmug! Shilence!” yells the leader… “Choo disrespect Supreme Leader. Choo American spy. Choo a liar….. cut his head off.”
“No, this is not part of the timeline. Let me out of here now. You cannot let Kael stay in North Korea! You must let me face him!”
One of the Koreans pulls out a sword, Brenton’s eyes widen.
“No…. stop… no! NO! NOOOOO!!!!!!”
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