Never Trust a Newcomer

By Kaska Koopa

Chapter Six

“What do you mean, a soldier is dead?! And Henrico on top of that?!” Bowser roared. Although he was often viewed as a cold, heartless leader, it seemed that at this moment, Bowser cared about a fellow soldier’s life. Or, perhaps, he simply saw the loss as a crushing blow, and that valuable resources were lost. Either way, he was not pleased by the incident.

“Well, sir, I, well…”A low-ranking soldier fidgeted as he struggled to explain the situation. Oh, why was it always him?

“Speak up, fool!” Bowser bellowed. Tendrils of smoke rose lazily from his nostrils, and some of his blood vessels were visible, as anger turned into rage.

“He was dead on the floor, sir, and, um, well… I don’t know why. Wasn’t there a similar case a few years before?”

Bowser hesitated before answering. How did this rookie come by this information? “Don’t ask. It’s finished now. And how do you know?”

Seeing that Bowser was no longer angry- curiosity (and fear?) had taken over- the soldier confessed. “This little file caught my eye one day when I was cleaning the file storage room, and out of curiosity I took it out. It read, ‘Operation: Backfire’, and it seemed interesting. Prince Ludwig solved it with his advanced intellect, if I remember correctly, and the assassin involved was killed… Sir? Sir, are you all right?”

Bowser had turned a chalky white as it all came back to him. With a hoarse voice, he ordered the rookie to check the cause of death. He prayed with all his might that it wasn’t suffocation.

He had to inform Ludwig about this.

A few years ago, in a sinister laboratory…

A group of Koopas ran towards the red pulse on their maps. Dressed from head to toe in a special military biosafety suit, boots, and a gasmask, each Koopa carried a Super Scope and a couple of Bob-ombs. Looking down at his map, the leader of them all indicated the next passage. “This way.”

Nodding, they marched down the hallway, looking carefully around them as they went. Their gasmasks emitted strange sounds, reminding them of Darth-Vader.

Eventually, they reached the red pulse. The leader kicked down the door, charging in. A scientist whirled around, nearly dropping the vial he was holding. In it was a greenish liquid that swirled mysteriously around. The scientist was a Koopa as well, and he looked slightly mad. He set the vial in a holder where several other vials stood. He took out his hammer, as if he thought he was a Hammer Brother, and spat out a few hateful words.

“You’ve finally come. You’re not going to take my virus from me, fools. I won’t let you!“ The leader replied coldly, as if he had anticipated this move.

“No sudden moves, Dr. We will open fire if you do not cooperate. Now, hand over the virus and everything will be fine. We might even give you a new identity and a chance to go study something else.”

“Oh no you don’t. I’ll slit my wrists before I do, and I won’t give you the satisfaction of my handing it over!” All this time he had been backing away towards the wall, searching for a moment of relaxation in the others. Ever so slowly, he raised his arm and cocked it in a throwing position.

With a guttural snarl of rage, he chucked it at the leader. He missed, but by a hair- the leader staggered back, surprised by this movement of defiance, and the hammer tore through the metal wall. The leader gestured towards the others.

They opened fire.

The scientist was thrown back, his body hit by twent- four glowing spheres, and he let out a painful groan. His clothes, burnt, let out a sizzle as black smoke rose from them. He slumped forward, and did not move. He seemed to have lost consciousness. Judging by the look of his wounds, the leader knew that they were fatal. The scientist would not live…

Ludwig could not believe his ears. There was no way a body that had been dead for years could actually come back to life. A body that had been cremated, for that matter. And think about the decay! As thoughts ran around in his mind, Ludwig forgot one very important thing, one very important person.

He was currently in his newly acquired room, writing as if he had come up with an idea that should not be forgotten. His eyes glowed unhealthily white, and a slight grin reached his lips. He was, at that moment, trying very hard not to laugh.

Oh, how insanity would affect the world.

“That’s it, all right. Take it, and let’s move out!” The leader took a deep breath, and grabbed the holder. It looked like a suitcase, and it had a lock on it. The leader groaned inwardly, knowing that he would be responsible for this. Cursing under his breath, he handed it to his teammate and gestured with his head. It was time to escape.

Halfway through, though, he noticed that one of his team members was missing. Having faced this situation before, he buzzed for codename NTR, and waited. And waited. And waited… but there was no answer.

“Bad connection,” he muttered, ”equals a bad team.” He would have to talk to him about this. “NTR, respond immediately. Repeat, NTR, respond immediately.”

Still no answer. What was going on?

He was about to quit when he heard something, a sound difficult to discern because of the static. A few seconds later, he realized it was a groan. Immensely relieved, he attempted to speak with the Trooper. After all, NTR was a clumsy person; he might have sprained his ankle again.

“NTR! Respond immediately, I repeat, respond immediately…” What he heard next made him narrow his eyes.

“No… Stop, please! I never meant to hurt you! I SWEAR! PLE—“The rest was lost in a scream and static. The leader could hear a beastly howl of rage, and he severed the connection.

He turned and looked up towards the others— for he was somewhat shorter than the rest— and said, “I want all troops on high alert. There is, apparently, a monster on the loose. A very big one, in fact. This monster may unleash all of the experiments conducted there, so have your Super Scopes and Bob-ombs ready.” He paused. “Go, go, GO!”

The soldiers, afraid but not daring to show it, employed their Super Scopes once again, and began running towards the entrance.

Halfway through, the one in the back, a rookie, saw a monstrosity running towards them at full speed. It was the professor but with a big difference.

The right arm was heavily mutated, protruding out from the dirty white lab coat. Its veins stuck out from the grossly enlarged muscle, and green blood could be seen pumping through. The scales seemed to have burned off, leaving the flesh beneath it black and charred. White bone was visible from the strangely transparent elbow. A dull horn stuck out from the shoulder blade. But the scariest part of all was the intensely enraged look of the professor’s face—or what remained of it.

A milky white film covered the eyes, paling the formerly black eyes to a distinctive gray. The mouth twisted into a grimace, revealing broken teeth, teeth that were growing out again and again…

It was too much for the rookie. He turned and began firing rapidly at the thing, screaming all the while.

It wasn’t enough by far.

With a howl, the thing swung its grotesquely long arm, its oversized fist slamming into the soldier’s head. The rookie stopped screaming, and slumped to the floor. He would remain silent.

The others began giving in, firing at the monster. It was no use; the monster kept on punching, reducing the formerly twenty-five members of the team to three. The leader still would not give up. He would live, unlike his teammates.

Finally, after hours of running, the monster disappeared. It had gone like magic. And as a scientist, there was no way the professor could have done just that.

The leader marveled at the stealth, and even considered sending in an army to capture it. After all, strength comes in nu—

An arm swung out of the darkness, barely hitting the leader’s head. He fell, landing face-first into a puddle. The other two, horrified, began watching the surroundings, keeping a close eye for any sign of the thing. They didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.

To Be Continued...

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