Jeurridam Ch. 10: Dredge Valley

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Zeek and I stood there staring at each other, this boy utterly insane! If we didn’t share the same sentiments I’d refuse him but he had one hell of an argument! We both had strong feelings for this matter and things needed to happen sooner rather than later.

“Let’s do it!” He said once again. A smile came across my face as I walked towards him.

“Why do I got a feeling I’m going to do all the hard work and you’re just gonna sit back and cheer me on?” I asked.

“Well it depends on if you jump to the punch faster than I can. I may just have to sit back and admire your work.” He smiled devilishly. I rolled my eyes, climbing into the rear of the truck. It was truly, truly a hard decision.

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this…” I sighed.

“Hey you don’t think I feel bad about it either? Just think about all the great things that will come of us doing this. Come one, think about it!” He persisted.

“Okay…” I said as he handed me a commandeered sniping rifle from the Area 51 weapons vault.

“This is giving me some idea…” I said, dismantling it, putting it in a carrying case. Zeek sighed, staring off into the lake bed, only to a barrage of blades darting past him. They landed in the bed of the truck, startling the boy.

“You did that on purpose…” He said, angry.

“Did I?” I shrugged, hopping off the bed of the truck and getting into the passenger seat. He sighed, heart still racing, as we drove towards Dredge Valley. He clearly had a lot on his mind, because he jostled back in forth in his seat, constantly looking at himself pitifully in the mirror.

“I’m so sorry, Zanir…”
“Shut the fuck up. You’ve apologized a dozen times already.” I grovelled, rolling my eyes.

“I just don’t feel like…”

“That I’ve accepted it? I haven’t. I know you’re sorry, I can feel it. And just so you know, I’m not mad about Galveston, about Swish, about the whole being held hostage in the desert. I’m still mad you stole my Leer.” I smiled, punching his arm. A big release of tense energy just seemed to leave the boy.

“I mean I’m sorry about that…”
“OH MY GOD SHUT UP!!!!!!!” I said, covering my ears. He looked at me smiling.

“You’re just so different from how I remember… Like really different.” He said.

“How so?” I asked.

“A bit short, a bit colder, and a hell of a lot more vicious.” He teased.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” I shrugged.

“It was just an observation.” He laughed.
“Again, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

I remember the days when I used to crush on Zeek so bad. It all went away the moment he stole my Leer. It was just the ultimate of all ultimate betrayals and jump started something I feared wasn’t ready. I still had some serious resentment towards him. If he hadn’t stole the Leer, none of this would have happened. Galveston still would have been alive. The two of us would have never met but he simply was too great to die.

Ugh, what am I saying? I couldn’t blame Zeek for this. Everything up to this point, he was pushed to do. Hell, he was owning up to all the terrible shit he had done and for that, I couldn’t be upset. He was trying to change and for me to hold resentment over something he couldn’t control was wrong. But it was hard. I was used to waking up beside Galveston and now it was quite, quite lonley. The way he was taken from me was just brutal and I wished I had him back.

“You okay?” Zeek asked.

“Yeah…” I said wiping away my tears.

“Dude, I’m sorry!” He said once again.

“I get it.” I said.

“I know you’re mad at me. If I could change it all I would! I’d be the one Rion took out so you and Galveston could still be happy! In that way, the Logatti would have surely wiped the floor with Da Lagon… You and him could have made off to Labrador together… been happy.” He said. His tone spoke so much about the way he felt. It was clear that he and Galveston didn’t get along, that even after his death he didn’t like him, but he wished for me to be happy. Now that surely was genuine.

The part I was stuck most on was that he said he wish he would have died instead.

“Why did you wish your own death?” I asked, truly concerned.

“Because, dad doesn’t love me. Beth thinks I’m a loser…”
“No she doesn’t!” I said in her defense.

“She can try to claim she doesn’t all she wants. She thinks I’m a loser and so do you.”
“Oh my God, Zeek quit! No I don’t! I think you’ve struggled with a lot, probably more than any of us! I think you’re a fighter, a true and utter trooper! Hell, I admire how resilient you are! I don’t think you’re a loser! You haven’t lost yet.” I said, trying to comfort him.

“Yes I have… You just don’t know.” He said, truly saddened. What was he hinting at? Something had to have happened that I’m not aware of. Truly, it had me curious but I was afraid of the answer, “And look at June… The way he silently judges me. He won’t say a goddamn word but I know he hates me.”

“No one hates you.” istanbul escort I said, starting to see that Zeek had far more issues than he simply led on. He was consumed with self guilt and felt others had faults with him even when they didn’t. It was just saddening. All these people here for him but he was to haunted by his past to see it. He needed help.

“Yes they do.” He responded.

“No… they… don’t!!!” I insisted.

“Well I hate me!” He said, his eyes welling up, “I’m just no good! Nothing good can ever come from anything I do! I just try and try and shit always hits the fan! I just have shit for luck.”

“Well stop hating yourself. All I hear is frustration because shit never goes your way. You think shit ever goes my way? I just have to make due and dare not complain. My dad wouldn’t have it.” I sighed. He looked at me quite indifferently, my words going through one ear and out the other.

“I’m still a shitty person.” He said.

“No you’re not, Zeek! Stop downing yourself. You say one more bad thing about yourself and I’m going to beat the shit out of you!” I threatened.

“It doesn’t change the truth.” He sighed. I leaned up, grabbing him by his collar.

“You must think I’m joking! I don’t care if you’re driving… I’ll knock some self-love into you!” I said. He rolled his eyes, hushing up for the ride to Dredge Valley.

We arrived, parking the truck in some shrubs ready to undergo the plan. He looked at me intently, wondering just what I had in mind.

“You’re gonna be positioned on top of the big red roller coaster with the rifle aiming into the Casino. Anyone I don’t see coming, take them out. I’m just gonna walk in, and walk out.” I said.

“As simple as that?” He asked.

“As simple as that.” I said.

“And you have faith that this is gonna work because…?”
“I’m pissed as hell and you truly haven’t seen these gravity blades in action.” I said back.

“Well, let’s get things under way, then.” He said, clearly having second thoughts. I didn’t. These people weren’t going to know what hit them.

It was now on! I put on my mask and hood, the gravity blades flying beneath my robes. Zeek also put on a mask, heading through Dredge Valley right into the depths of Paradise. We parted ways, Zeek discretely heading to the old roller coaster while I walked nonchalantly through the Casino District.

“You’re sure this is going to work?” Zeek asked over the air.

“Now why would you have second thoughts when I’m right at the Da Lagon Casino?” I asked back.

And it was huge! Multiple stories of nothing but gambling, narcotics and human trafficking. The people coming in and out of the casino were dressed extravagantly. I looked quite mundane, even hard to notice with these Ilisian robes. It made reaching the pent of the Casino all the more easy.

“You’re in deep…” Zeek said, very concerned for me.

“Hush boy…” I responded, not really having many concerns. He looked down his scope, into the windows of the Casino. The further I went in the more nervous he got. He knew it’d be hard for me to get out.

I entered the most lavish suite. Naked and inebriated girls lay everywhere as well as their high bidding clients. There on the royal bed was a very large man, covered in women. He was quite drunk, oblivious to me even being there. I walked up to him, tapping him awake.

“What!!!” He said, the midday rays of the sun being quite brutal.

“Are you Rion’s boss?” I asked, plainly.

“Yeah what’s it to yah?” He responded, clearly not thinking straight. He whipped the crust from his eyes as they adjusted to the light.

“Did you order the hit on Ezekiel?” I continued. He froze in his tracks, looking at me.

Just as he was about to reach for his gun, several blades flew out from under my coat, skewering the man. He screamed out before his own blood filled his lungs. The women he lay with scattered, afraid for their lives. Their screams brought the attention of every Da Lagon insurgent in the casino.

“Zanir, you got a whole heap of goons coming your way!” Zeek warned.

“That’s good… That means I won’t have to look for anyone.” I said, taking a seat next to a client, high off of cocaine. He looked at me, smiling before falling to the floor.

Several Da Lagon goons rushed into the pent. As soon as their eyes fell upon their slaughtered leader, panic ensued.

“No, someone got boss!” One said.

“How’d someone even get up here?” Another asked.

“Hush,” Someone rational began, “I want everyone to search the area! Who ever did this couldn’t have gone far…” I looked at them all, the men being quite stupid.

“I’m right here…” I said with a hand raised.

Suddenly, every gun was pointed at me. My blades irrupted from my robes, slicing the guns, hands and everything else that could be used to shoot me, clean off their bodies. The blades then found a nice throat to nuzzle up against as I got to my feet.

“Who are you?” One asked, bleeding out terribly. ┼či┼čli escort

“It really won’t matter,” I started as I prowled between them, “Since I’m going to wipe you all off the face of the Earth…”

“NO WAIT!!!!!” He said, just as my blades got closer. I turned to him, pausing.

“Okay?” I responded, wanting him to get to the point.

“Don’t kill us! You killed our boss. That means we’re now loyal to you! You’re the man in charge…” He said. I just laughed.

“How incredibly stupid is that?” I asked, shaking my head, “To be creatures of your own will but have to pay affiliation with someone because they own you…? That’s not loyalty, that’s called being a slave, not having a mind of your own. You all are broken! Why would I want someone who doesn’t have a mind of their own? Why would I want someone that’s broken?”

“Please… Just don’t kill us! Some of these people are kids, just getting started in this world. They don’t deserve this!” He pleaded for them all.

“And the people you’ve killed did? You think I have regards after what I’ve lost.” I countered.

“This is revenge?” He asked.

“No,” I said as my blades pierced every single last one of them, “Problem solving…”

I made my way back down to the lower levels of the Casino, laying waste to anyone who looked roughly affiliated to Da Lagon. All the blades were covered in blood, coming to rest up under those gorgeous white robes I wore. They weren’t white anymore, becoming a deep red after being saturated with the blood of many. The only thing that remained white was the hood over my head.

Just like I discretely came in, I discretely left, disappearing into the crowd of those who fled the casino. Zeek and I met back up in dredge valley, the boy looking at me in a completely different light. It was starting to get on my nerves.

“What?” I asked.

“That was brutal… Even for you…” He said.

“And you wouldn’t have did the same? I was thinking about how they took Swish and Galveston out, how they made you go through so much so they could grow and how they were becoming the biggest problem in the entire Mojave! I took care of them because you asked me too! Don’t you dare go back on me!” I snarled.

“I’m not. It’s just… I saw no humanity in you when you did that. It was like you were a machine in there! You didn’t have any regard for the younglings… they were slaughtered too!” He responded.

“And how many people have Da Lagon slaughtered? We’re in a time of peace in the Mojave but they’re the ones steadily riling shit up… I saved a bunch of lives taking them out. If the Merchant Clan would have went after them, more younglings would have died then the ones I killed. There’s no silver lining! I did what I had to… You’re pissing me off, Zeek! I thought you wanted this to happen.” I said back.

“Yeah, but not like this! I…I…”

“You wanted your own hands bloody…” I said, now seeing his point.

“Well… Yeah. I wanted to take out every single Da Lagon scum who’s ever made me suffer! I wanted to make them die from terror before they even died from the shock of the injuries I was gonna inflict! I wanted revenge and the way you killed them, so clean, so quick, so efficient… didn’t gratify me.” He said, stating how he truly felt.

“Well I’m sorry,” I shrugged, “But this was not just for you. This was for Alistair, June, Swish’s family, the Merchant Clan in general. They lost their leader because of Da Lagon and now Alistair has to come out of retirement to cope with the changes…”
“Not a single soul in the Merchant Clan has had to go through nearly what I had to go through…” He fired back.
“But they’ve still had to go through something. Not every person’s struggle the same nor do people cope the same. Shit, you’ve been conditioned for the bullshit Da Lagon put you through by having to go through bullshit with your father, years before. Shit most people couldn’t cope with you can! What you just said was so unfair to many…” I responded. He sighed, knowing there was no way of getting around what I just said.

“I just wish I could have done it my way… One thing… One thing I wish could have gone my way, but it didn’t…” He said, still frustrated.

“Well I’m sorry it didn’t. If it gratifies you, what we did was terribly wrong but in this case… two wrongs absolutely made a right! If it’s one thing we have in common, we both believe in doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, for better extremes of course…” I sighed. He looked at me, taken aback by the revelation.

“That’s not my concern right now. My concern is how the hell are we gonna get past Beth? She’s gonna know something’s up…” Zeek sighed.

“Shit… Didn’t even think about that. Yeah we’re definitely in some real danger.” I sighed, “We should just tell her upfront if she confronts us…”

“Nooooo!!!!!!!” Zeek refused.

“It’d be better to tell her the truth now and face the tongue lashing than her to find out what we did and face the ass lashing.” mecidiyek├Ây escort I shrugged.

“I rather get beat by her then hear how mouth…” He said, truly hating nagging.

“Yeah,” I sighed, “We’re for better extremes…” He laughed as we walked deeper into dredge valley. It was the dry season here so pooling water was hard to come across. That meant walking into the realm of the mutants… the mers.

Zeek had his handgun at the ready as we made pace. He and I both were nervous, mers were known to be incredibly dangerous. They were fast and able to blast you with a low frequency rumble that was so resonant it could shatter bone. Not to mention, the were notorious ambush fishers. Anything that came beside the water would be snatched to the depths of the Bay of Vegas and drowned.

“Of all the areas in Jeurridam that were quarantined, they opted to keep this place open to the public.” I sighed.
“I was thinking the same thing…” Zeek responded.

“Look!” I said, pointing to a vault hidden under sparse vegetation.

“I’ve been here a million times and never noticed that before.” Zeek said.

“Well it’s been here for some time.” I said, walking over to investigate it.

“Don’t go near that thing! You don’t know what’s in it!” Zeek warned. I looked at him, not pleased with his overprotectiveness.

“Shut up…” I said.

The vault was dug into the side of the south side of the valley, a very strange location and one easy to overlook. The area around it was filled with water, an unnatural amount of water considering just how deep we were in this dry season. Something was definitely odd. My blades vibrated, alerting me to something moving. I looked down in the water, seeing the silhouette of a mer coming forth in the murky water. Just as it came out the water, my blades skewered it before returning to rest under my robes.

“Interesting…” I noted, looking at the water, “I bet it is connected with Lake Mead which is how the water is able to percolate here… but why? I’m starting to think these mers are guarding something.”

“Really?” Zeek asked.

“Yeah, this setup isn’t natural. This is such a strange location for water to pool and not be connected to a stream. Then on the edge of the southernmost bank, you have shrubs growing over a vault…? Somethings at play here and I wanna figure out what…” I said.

“I don’t think you should. I think we should go back to camp, get the hell out of here and never come back.” He teased.

“Oh, I’m coming back… Alone if I have to.” I said.

“Why?” He asked, not seeing why it was important.

“I’m curious… Plus I’m not so sure about these mers. I wonder how long they’ve really been here in the Bay of Vegas.” I responded.

“You care about stuff that like…other people don’t. Let’s get back to camp.” He said, turning around, “Shit…” As soon as I turned, my blades flew out, skewering several mers.

The giant midnight people fell, bleeding out on the ground. They looked human, quite human but weren’t. The main differentiator was that they were quite tall, and a very dark shade of blue. Their feet also were lobed with fins which allowed them to swim at great speed. They were just eerie creatures.

Zeek and I wasted no time in getting back on the road. I stripped out of these bloody robes back into my regular clothes. The whole time, Zeek watched.

“Eyes on the road, pervert…” I said.

“There’s a road? We’re driving in a canyon, I thought…” He smiled, warranting a dismayed look from me.

“Well eyes on the canyon…” I sighed, sliding into my shorts.

“You need to start working out!” He teased.

“I really do. I’ve let my body go. I used to be so muscular and lean. Now my muscles have atrophied because I don’t eat shit…” I responded with a chuckle. He looked at me surprised.

“You don’t eat?”

“Not as well as I should.” I said back.

“Well we’re going to have to start doing better then, aren’t we?” He asked. I looked at him, curious about his choice of wording.

After an hour drive, we arrived back at Area 51. We parked the truck, heading to the inner facility. Both of us were afraid to see Beth. We had been gone for quite some time and we knew she’d have a barrage of concerns. Fortunately though she was nowhere to be found. We both gave a sigh of relief as we sat into the lobby of the main facility.

“Guys!” Someone called out. It was Julio and Heaven, both looking quite alarmed.

“Yeah…” Zeek responded, sounding not too pleased to be bothered.

“We got some news! We did the run to Tijuana today but couldn’t complete it.” Julio said.

“Okay?” I shrugged, wanting him to get to the point.

“It was an ambush. We didn’t even make it to the extraction point but got close enough to realize it. There were mechanized tanks and smaller mechanized vehicles that ran on four legs. They almost got us… Like… seriously!” Julio said.

“Yeah, it was crazy. I’ve never seen shit like that before.” Heaven said.

“Really?” I asked, finding the news disturbing.

“We don’t know for sure but we’re convinced it’s Revivalist tech. Apart from the UCM, they’re the only ones with the capacity for this type of tech.” Julio responded.

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