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The Immortal

Categories: Case Histories

By David Kish, (c) 1999

The downdraft from the helicopter threw sand up into Ellison’s partially shielded eyes. He jumped down onto the hard tarmac and began running from the helicopter, which was already taking back off. The dust subsided and allowed Ellison a chance to get his bearings. He had studied the airfield on the approach, committing its layout to memory. Now, he moved off in the direction of the one story concrete building that served as Al Jouf’s terminal.
Ellison dodged through rows of sand-covered tents and trailers, noting some of the Air Force personnel working on the MH-53 Pave Low Special Ops helicopters or AH-64 Apache gunships. Others were busy with the daily routine of an airbase at war. Noises echoed from all over the base, competing with the sounds of the aircraft, it all combining into a roar that assaulted the senses. A-10 aircraft flew overhead, their cargo destined for targets to the north. The base might be nearly deserted but what remained was a scene of barely controlled chaos. Ellison had always hated being around air bases. He was a Force Recon Marine and silence was something he had been trained to appreciate.

As Ellison neared the terminal, he mused over the strange summons he had gotten less than twenty-four hours before. He had been preparing possible contingency plans with his recon team for missions against Iraq. A Marine private from headquarters had shown up with an orders packet detailing him for temporary detached duty to Special Operations Command-Central (SOCCENT) and to report for a briefing at the Al Jouf airbase. That Marines were not even part of the Special Operations Command made this a strange occurrence, but not completely unheard of. The Marine bringing the orders knew nothing about them, he was only a messenger, and of no help to Ellison. Now that he was here, Ellison thought, I’ll be happier when I’m out of here and back with my team. The ops that came out of SOCCENT tended to be a bit on the hairy side. That a Force Recon marine would admit that, even to himself, said something about the nature of the work.

At the terminal, two Air Force security police greeted Ellison. The serious looking men checked Ellison’s ID and papers before relaxing slightly and allowing him to pass. Ellison entered the building. Inside, a bored looking airman looked up from his desk. Ellison gave him a once over before speaking: “Sergeant Dwayne Ellison reporting in.” He handed over his travel papers and orders. The airman checked them over, comparing them with a sheet of paper attached to a clipboard.

After a moment of scanning, the airman appeared satisfied. “Down that hall and through the last door, sergeant.” Ellison nodded and headed down the hall. Several of the men he passed wore army uniforms. A casual inspection of them revealed nothing that would separate them from thousands of others in-country. Ellison knew better. Surveying their walk and the badges on their uniforms, Ellison knew he had walked into spook central of the Big Green Machine.
When Ellison went through the door, he was a little taken back by what greeted him. About twenty-five men sat in school-style desks. Some were talking amongst themselves, others reading through briefing folders that sat on the desks. All gave Ellison a quick once-over when he entered. Ellison knew several of them. They were all top operators from Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and Marine Force Recon. The amount of talent in the room told a pretty good story about the seriousness of the mission.

Ellison sat down in an empty desk and began scanning the briefing folder. It contained vague information on an Iraqi base of some variety that was secreted in western Iraq. Generalized area studies of Iraq and satellite photography of the site were the main details. The briefing contained little hard data; they seldom did. Like teachers giving a standardized test to students, military briefers hated letting too much be known before they began. It spoiled their little suprises. Wait until I tell you to open your test and then you can find out whom to kill. Make sure you have a number 2 pencil before deploying on an op. It was ridiculous sometimes. Ellison chose instead to survey the others in the room, hoping to gain insight into the mission by their inclusion.

There was Captain Ted Winters, a legend in the SpecOps community. A Special Forces mustang who had gone from team sergeant to team leader, an icon with over a decade of special ops behind him. Rumors surrounded the man, putting him in with some of the community’s greatest exploits. Supposedly, he had even operated in southern Russia for the Agency, training Moslem extremists against the Soviet regime. There was even talk of a KGB-sponsored bounty on his head. Nobody but Winters knew what was true and what was legend and he wasn’t talking.

Then there was Chief Petty Officer John Simone, a SEAL from Team Six, who had cut his teeth in Beirut in the early Eighties and had gone on to earn quite a rep serving throughout the Mideast. Several “accidents” in the region had been attributed to him, including the assassination of several terrorist leaders and an Iranian nuclear physicist. A thin man who looked more like a doctor or lawyer than a deadly predator. Looks can be deceiving, though.
Ellison’s mental round up was cut short. Several men in suits paraded into the room, followed by a full-bird Army colonel who looked ancient. They quickly set up several maps and other briefing paraphernalia. A suit handed out thicker briefing folders, each marked TOP SECRET/ORCON.

One of the suits took the center stage, clearing his throat. “Gentlemen, I am Mr. Green, representing the Central Intelligence Agency. You have been called here because of the mission of the highest importance to the security of both this region and the United States.”

Green paused a moment, pulling up a sheaf of notes before continuing, “The nature of this mission is multi-faceted and, well, unusual. It appears that the Iraqi’s have established a special base here.” Green pointed out a location on the map in vast expanse of Iraq’s featureless desert.

“Our intelligence indicates that the Iraqis have undertaken a new form of warfare here, genetic warfare. Apparently, subjects are being subjected to various experiments to make them into some form of evolved being to act as super soldiers against our forces. The exact nature and success rate has been hard to determine. In addition, we believe various other research projects into weapons of mass destruction to be taking place there, providing additional dangers to our forces and National Security. A final project at this site are archeological excavations. Intelligence has prepared a study that possibly various religious icons might be found there and exploited in propaganda. We are planning to infiltrate this team there to assess the situation and if possible assault the site. If assault becomes ruled out, you will provide guidance for an airstrike and perform post-strike bomb damage assessment. This operation is code-named: Messiah”

A hand shot up from a SEAL in the audience, “Why put a team in at all? Why not just nuke the fucker and be done with it?”

“The answer is two fold. There is an apparent connection between an American-based corporation and the work going on here. We have been unable to prove any accusations, but this corporation has apparently been using Iraq as a testing ground with full Iraqi cooperation. This has been going on for several years and has included high technology transfers, information sharing and so on, in violation of international and national laws. Mr. Smith of the FBI will cover this aspect of the operation in more detail during his part of the briefing, but quickly, we want to gather any evidence of their involvement for prosecution at home.”

“Secondly, we would like to gain access to intelligence on the projects being undertaken and to any religious items recovered. This can not be done if the site has to be destroyed from the air.”

A Special Forces trooper raised his hand, “What sort of hazardous materials can we expect to come into contact with?”

The grizzled colonel answered with a hoarse voice, “Nuclear, biological, chemical and other.” All the men looked at each other. What was ‘other’?

The briefing continued for over two hours, covering the details of the operation. Ellison concluded quickly that this was going to be one of the strangest and most clusterfucked ops he had ever been on. The briefers were dealing with subjects like Archaeological Intelligence. What the hell was that? They had been detailed on possible horrors that they could experience due to the genetic testing. They had been given strange threat profiles. Essentially, it seemed that the briefers believed that all manners of monsters could be encountered here. It was obvious that not all the information was being given to the team concerning the mission. Whatever was up, Ellison most certainly did not feel comfortable with it.

Mustafa Amin wasn’t sure if this was such a good idea. A year ago, the offer had been so tempting. Approached by a contact from Iraqi intelligence while he was serving the Palestinians, they had offered him a chance to be one of the first of a new generation, an altered freedom fighter to carry the war to those infidels in an unbelievable way. He would be virtually immortal, never aging, and almost invulnerable to weapons, able to take the war into the West with no fear. He would be armed with an arsenal of strange new weapons and techniques that would show those who would tramp upon the Islamic peoples who were the true masters.

Mustafa had been a freedom fighter for over a decade. He didn’t quite fit the pattern of his brethren, though. He found the Western unbelievers strange, hard to comprehend, but he didn’t carry the fanatical hatred so many others did. He had studied their culture and their history. The Americans had been born out of the same sort of guerrilla war that he now carried on. Throughout their existence, they had used the same tactics of terror that his people used back, and yet when they did it, they were hailed as victors, praised for their strategies. His people struck back, seeking their freedoms and were branded as criminals. They double-dealt in the political arena, winning themselves great power, yet when his leaders did the same, they were considered as snakes. They screamed loudly about freedom and democracy yet invaded his culture, attempting to strike it down for being different. It was very confusing to a soldier like Mustafa.

Still, the hatred never came. He was fascinated by this mind-set. It made them interesting enemies, sometimes very predictable and then they threw in some new wildcard. Someday, after the revolution was done, and an Islamic state stretched across the Middle East and Africa, he hoped to visit them, possibly as an ambassador, and very much their equal, to duel again in a different arena for his people.

Stranger still to Mustafa, were these Americans here, working side by side with Iraqi soldiers and scientists. They had been here for quite a while, long before Mustafa had been asked to come here. The war had not changed their attitude, in fact, they had redoubled their efforts for Hussein’s war machine. The only difference was that they had exchanged their uniforms with the NWI logo on it for ones more non-descript.

The Americans were bringing wondrous new items to the battlefield. Unfortunately, Mustafa found his Islamic sensibilities challenged by the blasphemous things he had seen here and had partaken in. Only by falling back on his faith and training had he managed to keep his sensibilities intact. Several others in his cadre were not so lucky.

The NWI staff had been having the cadre learn chants, hard to pronounce chants, which produced effects that Mustafa wouldn’t have believed if he hadn’t seen them. Creatures were called out of the sky or out of nothing at all, able to perform the commands of the chanter. Assassinations, intelligence gathering, even as weapons of mass destruction; these beings would change the face of warfare. Dead bodies taken from the Kurdish lands and from Iraq’s fallen were taken down into the underground tunnels, returning later, mindless but walking, servant soldiers to be sent towards the coalition forces. Rites were practiced towards something known as Shub-Niggurath, something that would give its milk for the cadre to consume. Other blasphemous practices and things lurked about, hidden glimpses caught out of the corner of an eye or whispered about when no one else was around. Things that Mustafa didn’t even want to contemplate.

Now, deep in the caverns beneath the base, the ones that looked like they had been burrowed out and not built, Mustafa was preparing himself to take the milk from the Shub-Niggurath and walk down that road to immortality. He lay upon the bed, instruments he could only vaguely understand hooked up to him. The doctor walked in, a smile upon his face as he looked over Mustafa.

“Are we ready, Mustafa?” The smile held deep secrets that made Mustafa shudder.
I must be brave, for my people and the revolution. “Yes. By Allah’s will.” Mustafa remembered a saying from his people: May Allah protect me from my friends; my enemies I can handle.

“Very good.” The doctor turned to one of the technicians. A simple nod was given and the man turned on a machine. A white, milky substance began to flow through a tube into Mustafa’s arm.

Mustafa again had some misgivings about this. The Iraqi’s might be desperate enough to try anything, but was he?

Pain filled him. He was aware that he was screaming, but seemed detached from it somehow. If his body wanted to scream, so be it. His mind filled with visions. Pictures that seemed to be a life flashing before his eyes, but not his life. It was an existence older than his was by eternities. The images horrified him at first, unnamable things and unspeakable practices that he was both observer to and participant in. The physical pain began to retreat into the background and the visions began to change in outlook. They were not to be reviled; he was becoming part of something bigger than himself, maybe even bigger than the revolution. He felt power in every cell of his body. He felt timeless, transcending the futile time that mankind had burdened itself with. He was something more than a man now. He was one with the Mother, Shub-Niggurath.

The doctor’s voice brought Mustafa back to the mundane reality he had been a part of before. He didn’t want to let go of the truth he had been exposed to, but he knew his purpose was here and not there, yet

“Are you all right?”

Mustafa nodded, a smile too powerful to contain across his face. Bliss and strength, strangely co-existing filled his whole being.

The doctor grinned, too. His smile was a knowing smile, one that allowed Mustafa to sense a soul mate. The expression no longer held secrets that terrified, but showed someone who knew the truth.

Mustafa was helped off the bed. Two nurses led him down to a private room to recover. Along the way, Mustafa realized that he had discovered a new god, one that replaced all the teachings of the Koran. Strange, he didn’t mind.

The colonel and the CIA man watched the team board the helicopters and fly into the night sky. Within a few minutes they were consumed by the darkness.

“This is one of the most goddamn spooky ops I’ve been a part of,” stated Mr. Green.
“I wonder if any of them will make it back,” asked the colonel, not expecting any answer. He was busy removing the colonel’s insignia, replacing it with the two stars of a major general.

“General Fairfield, we’ve done everything possible in the circumstances.”
The old general that had been masquerading as a colonel just stared at the dark horizon. In a grizzled voice he spoke to no one in particular, “Is it enough? Is anything we do enough?”

Ellison looked out of the helicopter, nervous energy filled his being. Below, the landscape of the desert was a sheet of darkness. This was it. The mission. 72 hours of frantic preparation leading up to what would be a violent confrontation.

Ellison mentally rehearsed everything that had been crammed into his brain the last three days. It was a good mental exercise to relieve some of the stress of waiting. He approached it analytically, like a scientist studying some sort of new species.

First, he reviewed the intelligence about the site. Troop strengths, defensive layouts, the weird warnings that had been given throughout the briefings. It all gelled together to try and give some coherent picture about what to expect when they got there. Fifty to seventy combatants, maybe another twenty non-combatants. God knows what else with the threat profiles he had seen. He wished he had more intel on all of that.

Next, he went over his part in this play. Where was he supposed to be, what were his personal mission objectives, and so on. He played it out in his head like an actor reading a script, acting out scenes as they were supposed to go. If everything went according to plan, that is. He would be point man for part of the infiltration team, leading them down into the underground portion of the complex.

Finally, he reviewed the contingency plans and the escape and evasion set-up. He had a feeling that with the way everything was designed in this mission, he would be falling back onto these more than the original plan. That thought did little to ease his nervousness.
Around the helicopter, the other members of his section were going about whatever pre-mission rituals they had designed for themselves. Simone was there, tunelessly humming some unknown rock song. The SEAL looked as if he was just in his car driving to work. I guess in a way he is, thought Ellison.

Winters was there, too. The man looked completely calm, as if locked into some sort of Zen meditation. The rough face revealed nothing, no fear, no excitement, absolutely nothing. He would lead in the infiltration team.

Nestled in between the special ops men was the FBI man who was known only as Mr. Smith. There was nervous energy coming off of him in waves. His fingers tapped against his legs, the legs jittered up and down, the body trembled. The man was chattering over the radio with the base camp, the words coming almost too fast to be intelligible. Ellison chalked it up to the mission but couldn’t help but feel there was more to it. Whatever it was, Ellison hoped it wouldn’t affect the mission.

After what seemed simultaneously like a second and forever, the helicopters touched down at the insertion point. Troops flooded out the doors and into the desert, ducking and running from the aircraft. The Apaches circled overhead, providing covering fire. It was unnecessary. The desert was empty here.

The men formed into their fire teams at the rally points. They began preparing the dune buggy-like Fast Attack Vehicles (FAVs) for the desert trek. Above, the droning of the choppers faded as they headed for home. The horizon showed dim lights, the flashes from the continuing Coalition bombings far away. Quietly the unit moved towards the target and whatever waited there.

Activity around the Iraqi base had increased dramatically. The time was drawing near for the work that had been done here to show the fruit it bore.

Huge tanker trucks filled with the resurrection juice were preparing to head out for the front, to turn the dead into something more, a second chance at filling out the Iraqi troops. They were hidden under camouflage netting until they would leave, helping to hide them from the prying eyes of the Americans.

The surviving cadre of Shub-Niggurath initiates and terrorists stayed hidden below, in the underground portion of the complex. Only about twenty-five remained alive, the rest having suffered various “adverse reactions” from the milk of the mother. Still, it would be enough. Each man would be leaving soon to travel about the world, each wrecking more havoc than a thousand of his brethren could.

Mustafa had a fake identity, money and a hit list. He would appear to be traveling unarmed, no weapons or explosives to trip him up to any authorities. It was only their limited perception of the reality that was that kept them from seeing the true threat. Mustafa would begin moving through the cities of the west, using the gifts that had been given to him from the servants of the Old Ones to destroy his enemies. He would be the tool that would finally bring about the glorious revolution, his people united under one banner, not Allah, but the Mother and the Others. Truth would be brought to the infidels.

“Mustafa, come here.” It was one of the NWI personnel calling down from the top of the corridor. Mustafa went out. The lights of the compound sprayed out over the sand, blinding Mustafa temporarily, his eyes still used to the dim lights from below.

The man didn’t turn when Mustafa approached, he just continued staring upwards. “Are you ready for the great work ahead of you?” His voice was a harsh whisper.

“Yes. The infidels will learn of our new faith.”

The man smiled a small, humorless smile. “Old faith, actually, my brother.”

“I am prepared to serve the Mother and give my life for her and the new order.”

The man let out a harsh, guttural laugh. “That option will no longer be necessary, thanks to the Mother.”

Mustafa nodded, pride and love filling him at the gift the Mother had bestowed upon him. As he stood there with the other man staring at the landscape, Mustafa knew that destiny had found him. Soon he would leave for England to meet with others in the network. Then the first explosion rolled through the compound.

The infiltration team moved through the darkness towards the bunker. Ellison led the way, his rifle slung over his back and a silenced pistol in his hands. The others followed, silenced weapons gripped tightly in sweating hands. In seconds, it was over. The Iraqi guards lay dead upon the earthen floor, the only sounds being the working of the gun’s action and slight grunts from the men.

The team moved off, several of them heading towards the other bunkers and the rest heading towards the compound itself. As they reached the backs of the buildings, the men began planting explosive charges. The other bunkers were silenced and the troopers returning to the main group. Firing positions were established and claymore mines strung out to add to the killing zone.

Over his comlink, Ellison heard Winters give the “Go” order. Heading towards pre-planned areas, the force fanned out. Seconds later, the big sniper rifles atop the hills began to ring out.

Explosives detonated around several of the buildings, the flimsy barracks no match for expertly placed plastic explosives. Many of the men were killed in their sleep or left buried under the partially collapsed walls. Troops ran out, confused but attempting to respond. The machine guns made short work of them, killing several and scattering the rest.
Ellison moved through the shadows, firing short bursts at targets that appeared. Flames were already spreading through parts of the compound. Around him, his teammates followed his lead, heading towards the mammoth cavern entrance. A SEAL to his right caught a stray bullet, part of his face disintegrating into a gory pulp. Ellison stopped to check him while the rest of the team continued on. It didn’t matter. The life had already left him. Ellison glanced around. The team were already descending into the cave. The rest of the infiltration force was busy engaging the Iraqi’s. They had inflicted considerable damage on the defenders but now the surprise was wearing off. The Iraqis were beginning to reorganize themselves, in small groups, and return fire.

One of the claymores went off behind Ellison, shocking him back into action as its metal BBs tore apart some charging Iraqis. Ellison charged the cavern mouth and descended down.
He caught up to the team quickly. They were efficiently clearing rooms. Already many of the security personnel and technicians were dead, cut down by short bursts of automatic fire.
Winters directed two men to blow open a door. Breaching charges exploded, tearing hinges from the wall, leaving it down in the room. Through the smoke they poured out. They looked like civilians and Ellison’s first thought was that they were prisoners. When the “prisoners” grabbed the two men at the door and began pulling them apart, he quickly reassessed his opinion. The assault team concentrated their fire against the shambling figures. They took an amazing amount of punishment before going down. Behind them, more of the figures came out into the corridor, an endless stream of bodies clawing towards the team.

They’re not dying because they are already dead! Ellison didn’t know where that thought came from, but as he studied the walking corpses he somehow knew it was true.
Winters was ordering the team to withdraw. Grenades and auto fire filled the hall, tearing up more of the walking dead but still the waves just kept coming. Ellison pulled back and turned to offer covering fire. He fired a burst just as the creatures reached Winters. Horror crossed Winters face and an inhuman cry echoed. Within seconds, Winters ceased to be, torn limb from limb.

The team continued its fighting withdrawal. The lighting began to flicker, creating a strobe light effect. In this surreal landscape more horrors came out. It was huge, barely squeezing through the side hall. It was a hoofed thing, tentacles flaring out from around gaping maws. Even hunched over, the beast was huge. Ellison found the funny thought of it as a tree crossed his mind, a fucking bestial tree. It crushed through several ranks of the advancing dead, smashing bodies and advancing with a mindless hunger.

Simone just stood there, looking up as it towered above him. There was no resistance as it picked up the SEAL and pulled him towards one of the mouths. Simone screamed as teeth dripping green goo bit into him. The life was sucked from the hapless SEAL as he writhed there impaled on the creature.

Others fell to the creature. What had been an orderly retreat turned into a rout, as the team ran for their lives. The creature still advanced, grabbing any that were to slow.
Ellison wouldn’t remember doing it later, but he took the last of his C-4 and shoved a detonator into it. Hastily he set it up in the path of the creature. Running as fast as he could, he made it almost to the entrance and thumbed the button that detonated the explosives. The force slammed him into the cavern wall, driving the air from his lungs and thought from his head.

When he came to, Ellison felt as though a truck had run him over. He was bloody and bruised his hearing partially gone from the explosions. Beside him was one other man, a Green Beret. They were the only ones to make it out.

Around the compound, the fighting still raged. He couldn’t make them out but things were flying through the night sky, picking up American and Iraqi with no discrimination and carrying them off. Another cavern had opened up in the sand and an unholy chanting sound was singing out.

“We’re getting the fuck out of here,” he screamed at the trooper, pushing him up and running across the open towards the hills.

Ellison activated his headset, communicating with whatever survivors still remained, ordering a withdrawal to the rally point. He got several affirmatives.

The man didn’t see Ellison and his partner running behind him. Ellison could barely make out the strange words he was yelling up at the sky through his damaged ears. He’s talking to those things. Ellison lowered his assault rifle and let out a burst. The figure was torn up by the bullets, whipped around and down to the ground. As Ellison approached, he saw that the man was trying to get back up, only slightly fazed by the barrage. Another burst. Still the man tried to get back up.

Ellison ran over and kicked the man in the head, stunning him. Ellison and the Green Beret quickly hog-tied him and carried him off.

“You’re coming with me, motherfucker.” Ellison didn’t know if the man understood him or not. He didn’t care at this point. He wanted someone who could give him some intelligence about what had just destroyed the team, someone who could make some sense of the horrors that had happened.

He reached the rally point. Eight others were with him, the only survivors. Smith was there, very badly shaken. The snipers were still laying down fire at targets of opportunity. Several more caverns had opened in the ground around the compound, each with more chanting coming forth from them. The cavern that had housed the underground complex had more of the dead walking out of it. In the light of the fires it was a scene of madness.

Ellison found that he was the only one capable of still making any kind of rational thought. The others were relying on pure instinct and training, going through the motions like puppets. He made his judgement call and picked up the radio.

“This is Apostle two-one, calling for immediate evac at LZ Joseph. Request immediate airstrike on target Mary. Hostile forces overrunning team. Prisoner accompanying team. Apostle two-one out.”

A moment of static passed. “This is Last Supper. Air support ETA five minutes. LZ Joseph confirmed, ETA nine minutes.”

That was all Ellison needed to know. He packed what remained of the team into the FAVs. He turned around to grab Smith. The man was just gone. Where he had been moments ago, there was a small hole in the ground that was growing bigger by the second. Ellison looked down. He would never be able to accurately describe the horror that was burrowing upwards. Ellison caught only a glimpse in the flickering light but the indescribable, tentacled mass was forever burned into his memory. It was reaching upwards, towards Ellison, an ancient evil seeking more victims.

Ellison jumped back and headed for the FAV. He refused to look back as the vehicles took off across the desert.

Minutes later, a parachute blossomed above the compound. Underneath of it was a BLU-82 15000 pound bomb, the ‘Daisy Cutter’, the largest conventional bomb in existence. The crew of the C-130 Combat Talon had been originally tasked to drop it on positions of the Iraqi Army in Kuwait tonight, their mission changed at the last minute. A few seconds after the first parachute opened, a second appeared, deployed from the sister craft of the first Combat Talon. Eyes, human and otherwise, turned to look at the descending bombs. All went white, as two huge mushroom clouds formed out of the massive explosions. Almost three miles away, Ellison and the team were still jarred around by the shockwave. At the compound, most things just simply ceased to exist.

When the helicopter touched down and the team loaded, the crew chief didn’t know what to make of it. The team looked like they had been through Hell, most were wounded and all had a thousand-yard stare. The prisoner looked like he had been shot about a dozen times but that just couldn’t be, since he was still struggling against his bonds like a man with no physical infirmities whatsoever. The crew chief decided it was best not to ask and simply went about his tasks, leaving the men to their silence.

When they arrived back at Al Jouf, the prisoner was immediately scooped up by the spooks. He disappeared before Ellison could even get out of the helicopter. Ellison and the others were rushed into the base hospital. The next day they were shipped back to the states to recuperate.

A week after the operation, a special casket was laid to rest in a quiet cemetery in Virginia. Only a handful of people had attended the little ceremony. The casket was laid into the earth, the dirt covering the box and the strange, star-shaped symbol on it.
Inside the coffin lay Mustafa, still very much alive. He clawed at the sides but they were reinforced with steel. He screamed but since the Americans had destroyed his vocal cords it was a near silent hiss. Mustafa, the immortal warrior, would spend his days awaiting the coming of his Mother and the Endtimes in a box beneath the ground.

As the last of the dirt covered the hole, Mr. Green looked over his companions, a grim smile on his face. “Nobody said eternity was everything it was cracked up to be.” They turned and walked to their cars.

A few weeks after the mission, Ellison was greeted in his room by the colonel. He hadn’t spoken of the mission since its return, attempting to block it from memory. Who would believe him anyway? Seeing the colonel, now wearing general’s stars, he felt all the emotions rush back. He wanted to kill the colonel, to exorcise his demons.

The colonel/general must have sensed the tension in the room. He waved Ellison down. “Whoa, son, we need to talk. I’m Major General Fairfield and I represent a certain organization. I know what you’ve been through; we’ve all had similar experiences. We would like to offer someone with your talents a proposition.”

Fairfield and Ellison walked and talked for over two hours. Ellison was brought up to speed on an organization within the government he had never heard of, Delta Green. When the discussion was over, Fairfield pitched his recruitment speech.

Ellison listened intently, absorbing the details, turning them over in his head. He knew he wanted to strike back at those things that had cost so many good men. All he could say as they walked off, his mind made up, was: “I never wanted to live forever.”

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