By Uriel

Late February 2034, The New York Zero Zone

Gunfire ripped through the streets of the Zone, small arms fire ripping lines of craters along the mangled heaps of concrete and assorted rubble, while in the distance the explosions of heavier weapons could be heard. Patrol Tango 3 had been performing a sweep through what was supposed to be a, 'pacified' section of the zone, just to clear up after the heavy cyberoids. They had found that the area to be anything but passive.

Tomas Fortain, and Peter Johnson where members of Jinsei's elite special ops para-military division. They had some of the best and most advanced equipment of any military force in the world. They had training in multiple combat forms and tactics. They should have had nothing to fear from a band of poorly armed and untrained zoners. Right now they are running through the rubble desperate to get some cover, desperate to get away, after having seen the rest of their equally well trained and equipped squad taken down in less than a minute.

Lunging into the wreckage of a burned out building, the two men pause for breath and take in their surroundings. Johnson catches sight of Fortain's frantic expression and grabs his arm.

"Hey, look at me." Though he speaks quietly his companion obeys and turns to face him, seeming to take some measure of calm from his stern tone.

"We just need to lie low. They will be too busy raiding the transport to worry about us. If we just stay quiet we can" He does not get to finish as, with a deafening roar, the rubble around them hurls itself upwards.

The sub levels of the building had been partially collapsed in the initial artillery strikes Jinsei launched, leaving most inside dead and all access to the surface cut off. Luckily for the one survivor, he knows how to make explosives. It has taken him a few weeks with minimal food and increasingly stale air, but he has now set off the charges that he has calculated will open a path to the surface. Now, slowly and awkwardly he hauls himself up the somewhat unstable slope, and Isaac climbs up into the dust filled air.

Caught between bemusement and horror Johnson stares at the apparition before him. Clad in torn bloody rags, all of which seem to big for him, coated in mud, dust and general grime and with a torn sleeve revealing the crude cybernetics underneath, the man before him seems almost comical, as he staggers upright. At least until he looks up and their eyes meet.

Johnson's temporary paralysis as he stares into Isaacs eyes costs him his life. With an odd thrusting gesture Isaac ignites the cutting laser he has built into his arm, and lunges forward. The blow is inaccurate and wild, but with a tool meant to melt titanium even body armour can do little to help, and a near miss can still be deadly. As his ribcage becomes liquid and fuses with the boiling organs within, Peter dies, his horror filled eyes still locked on those of his killer.

As Johnson's body starts to fall, Fortain finally brings his gun to bear on the newcomer, and with a hysterical shriek opens fire. Bullets tear through the air and rubble, as the roar of the gun merges with the terrified soldier's scream. Until another gunshot, inaudible against the cacophony, reduces the man's head to a bloody mist. For a long moment the suddenly headless corpse continues to fire its weapon, and then collapses bonelessly to the ground.

Emerging from beneath the corpse of the soldier he had used as cover, Isaac stands up, looking calmly around as the Zoners enter the building from all directions with guns raised. Seeming to feel they are not a threat to him he turns and begins to strip the second corpse of its clothing.

"Who the Hell are you?" If the voice registers to Isaac he shows no sign of as he begins to shrug off his rags.

"Hey! I'm talkin to you!" The zoner advances, clearly intending to force some answers out of the freak that was unashamedly changing right in from of them. But he was interrupted by the sudden roar of artillery that sent the zoners scattering for cover.

Straightening Isaac looked upwards at the huge silhouette above him, taking in the triangular shape of the Night Sky Dragon.

"This could prove harder than I thought." Absently forcing his cyber arm into the sleeve of his new uniform, Isaac studied the huge weapon, and then shifts his attention to the zoners around him. Suddenly his face becomes animated and he slides in next to the loud ganger who had accosted him.

"My names Joshua. I'm sorry if I seemed like a jerk just then, I was sorta buried for a while." Under his wry smile the ganger's antagonism seemed to melt. And when the barrage stopped Joshua Peterson was among the zoners to head out to loot the stolen transport.<</P>

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