The Garden of Sinners
The Garden of Sinners
Author: Crimsade
Second Chance


The sound of a single person’s panicked breathing echoed through a long, ruined hallway of a ruined office building. He swiftly navigated through the rubble to escape an unknown threat that gave chase from behind. His panicked steps we overshadowed by the roaring stomps of an enormous beast that growled from the shadows. In front of the man were seven others, all dressed in the same attire; a dark blue, skin-tight suit with plated joints and red accents that glowed softly. They had helmets that resembled that of a spacesuit, however; they were not so bulky. A heavily tinted visor that prevented those from the outside from seeing their face while giving them maximum protection against the violent UV rays covered the font of the helmets. The area was illuminated a light brown as the fractured moon above served as their only source of light during the chase.

“!!!” The panicked man who was lagging behind the rest let out a pained sound as he tripped on a large concrete brick. He got back on his feet and ran towards the others, who were much further ahead of him now. He made it towards an open area, but stopped as a blue flash of light ricocheted at his feet. Before he had the chance to face where it came from, the rumbling steps stopped and got replaced by a ravenous growl. The man faced the beast and froze in fear.

“Grrr…..” A deep growl echoed through the ruined office building. An enormous beast that resembled an overly mutated rat locked its eyes on the one standing before him.

“Tch, I knew this wasn’t worth it.” A man said with a stern tone through the radio in the man’s helmet. “Adding a Combat Engineer to our ranks, what the hell was the Commander thinking?”

“Yeah,” a female voice followed, “If he cannot even hold his own against a mutated beast such as this, why should he even be worth the time to save?”

The man snapped out of his paralyzed state and argued back, “What the hell do you mean? Hold my own in a battle such as this? I’m a support unit, my goal is to increase your chances of survival.”

“GRAUAAAAA!!!” The mutated rat lunged at the man with its fangs bared. The man jumped and dodged the attack, however, he miscalculated the height of the ceiling and bashed his head on a large concrete pillar that leaned above him. His visor shattered, revealing a terrified, pale face that stared at the jaws of the beast that stood before him. The mutated rat’s mouth foamed as its black eyes secreted an orange-brown liquid. Its face had multiple pink claw-like scars that parted its gray fur, while its lower body was completely devoid of fur and had chemical burns scattered all over. There was a knife that rested in its tail. It gave another low growl before launching itself at the man once again. The man pulled out a small metal baton with a rubber handle and blue sparks traveled across it. Once the rat’s mouth came close to him, he stabbed the beast with the rod and it gave a pained roar and shoved the man away towards the others with its tail.

“Ngnn…” The man stood up and faced the other seven, who all stood before him with their guns drawn at him. “W-w-wait-!!!” A blue laser-like projectile shattered his helmet. The man’s brown, short, unkempt hair fell after being from its prison. He sat motionless on his knees in front of the group of soldiers he had once called his allies.

“Maybe you didn't get the memo, Kazer, but we have no reason to keep you on our team.” The stern man removed his helmet, revealing short, messy, blond hair that reflected the soft red glow of his allies’ suits. “But don’t feel so bad. Think of this as a learning experience. We Martians all have our role in society, and if one lone bottom feeder climbs the social ladder, out of luck, to become something that he’s not, a repeat of what happened here on Earth will happen on Mars.” He aimed his gun at Kazer’s head as the Rat behind him regained control of his body. “But it’s just as you said, your role as a Combat Engineer is to help increase our chances of survival. So thank you for being food for this mutated beast, which by the way, cannot be wounded with normal weapons!” He smiled as he moved the barrel of his at Kazer’s right shoulder and pulled the trigger. A blue flash penetrated his arm and embedded itself into the rumble. Kazer collapsed to the ground in shock because of the pain and watched as the man put his helmet back on and walked away. He waved at him as the rat began to slowly make his way towards Kazer.

“To think that they forced onto this planet because of that loser.” A faint voice played through the radio of the shattered helmet beside him.

“Yeah, no kidding. After all of those experiments, we can finally get rid of that dead weight. Project REDOS, what a lame-ass name for a project.”

Kazer looked at the broken headset with a pained expression. His eyes were soulless as he overheard their conversation.

“GRRRR!!!!” The mutated rat extended its tongue and grabbed Kazer by his right arm. Kazer stared into the jaws of his killer with an emotionless stare as he had given up on resisting. The beast’s putrid breath was causing the pain he felt and his consciousness to fade away.

“Heh… a narcotic gas… why would an apex predator need such a trait?” The rat slowly retracted its tongue back into its mouth. “Oh well… guess that was to be expected. The lower class never had a chance to make a name for themselves in this fucked up society. I suppose this is a much better way to control the people. But to think my ambition would lead me to become an example of what not to be for others… Heh, life is a bitch.” Kazer then found himself inside the rat mouth. It forcefully closed its jaws, crushing his right arm. “Heh, I feel nothing… too bad it’s gonna feel something.” Using his left arm, he pulled out a small grenade and pulled the pin with his teeth, and dropped it beside him. The grenade rolled down the rat’s throat. “Man… there goes my quick death.” Within seconds of the grenade disappearing, a wave of transparent gas filled the beast’s mouth, causing Kazer’s consciousness to completely fade.

——“Tch, how weak.” A stern voice said as a drop of cold liquid fell onto Kazer’s face. Kazer felt a burning sensation in his eyes. Warm blood trickled down his face from his eyes. Kazer attempted to open his eyes, but his vision stayed the same. Felt two squashy objects get placed into his hands.

“That is what happens when you try to play the hero.” A feminine voice said in a gentle tone.

“Heh, him playing the hero? It’s more like he is just a human meat shield. That’s his only purpose as the genetically modified freak that he is.” The sound of someone sitting down in a chair could be heard. “A loser from the lower class just happens to climb his way to the top just because, out of 20 million people, he’s the only one who is compatible with Project REDOS. Sounds like a load of bullshit to me. How much did the Commander even offer him anyways?” The man gave a heavy sigh as the female gave a soft chuckle. “What a lame-ass name of the project that he’s a subject of.”

“Oh, don’t worry so much. If you need to relieve some stress, just use his body.”

“OH?” The sound of heavy boats came close to Kazer. Within seconds, a sharp pain punctured his stomach. Kazer felt a warm liquid flow out of his body. He moved his hand towards his stomach and felt something swishy and soft. “I thought you were on his side? You know, the whole facade you built up.”

“He won’t remember by the time he revives, so where’s the harm.”——

*Drip… drip… drip… drip* Drops of waters fell one by one onto Kazer’s face as he regained his consciousness. A putrid smell greeted him with open arms as he grabbed his head in pain and slowly opened his eyes. He sat inside the head of the beast that once tried to devour him. Across from him sat the exploded remains of the beast, charred with burns, in the rain. A Kazer reached out his remaining hand and caught a few drops and proceeded to drink them. He winced in pain as the water burned his throat. However, that did not stop him from drinking more. Once he had quenched his thirst, he tended to his wounds as he waited out the rain.

While tending to his wounds, he thought about the dream he just had. “Project REDOS…” He grabbed his head in pain. “Why can’t I remember what it is about?” he released his head, “But more importantly, what was up with that dream? It felt real.” He grabbed his stomach. “It was as if I had died and Lloyd and Annmarie were just… enjoying it.” He looked at the area where he last saw the others before he was nearly killed. “Did they always act like that? But why, I thought we were close… Hell, we all had that big bounding moment before this mission started.” Kazer then became lost in thought as he finished tending to his wounds.

After waiting for about about a half-hour, the rain stopped. The afternoon sun pierced through the clouds, revealing a brown sky. Kazer walked out of the beast’s mouth and climbed a tall concrete pillar with rebar sticking out of it, bent in a way that resembled a ladder. He walked up to the pillar and launched himself up, segment by segment, until he had reached the top. Once he got to the top, he sat down and pulled out a small little box and opened it. Inside the box was a dull-colored brick that was not much larger than a candy bar. He brought the brick towards his mouth and stared off into the distance.

“So this is Earth.” He spoke out loud. His view was covered by the scene of a large city covered in a strange fog. From where he sat, there was no greenery to be seen, just the sight of barren land and withered trees that led to the city. Roads that once branched off into buildings and driveways now led to nothing as only the fractured remains of the concrete foundations stood. Destroyed tanks and planes littered the wasteland while the remains of androids rested next to some skeletons of soldiers who had once fought side by side in a brutal war. Evidence of large bombs was displayed by the scars left behind in the form of giant craters and duds that were scattered throughout the ancient battlefield. “Three thousand years since the great war. Five hundred years since the Martian founders had awakened from cryosleep and formed the Martian Confederacy.” He finished the brick and closed the box. “I guess now I have to find a way to survive on this post-apocalyptic Earth. But… not only that,” the images of his former colleagues flashed in his mind, “those bastards will get what they deserve. He reached for his belt and pulled out a small note and read it to himself:

Mission 001: Arrive at zone alpha and scout the area as you prepare for mission 002. Ensure that each unit has seven days’ worth of rations, a biolaser pistol charging kit, a shock baton, and a survival knife.

Mission 002: Each unit will travel to the seven continents on Earth by themselves on a four-month-long operation to ensure the safety of humanity as we prepare to restart life on Earth. Combat Engineer Unit: Kazer will be in charge of base building. If no base is built, then report on a monthly basis via the emergency radar embedded in your helmets.

The note ended off there. “Base building… like how the hell am I gonna do that?” He jumps off the pillar and makes his way back towards the carcass of the mutated rat that was killed by the grenade that was meant to take his life as well. He pulled out a small knife and ripped off pieces of the rat and stored them in the box that his rations came in. Once he was finished, he pulled out a map that he had received during planet-fall. “Western Europe is where we landed…” He looked at the notes on his map. “Looks like Annmarie is in charge of scouting this area. Let’s go pay her a visit and thank her first.” A small grin formed on his face as he reached for the small pistol holstered on his waist and pulled it out.

The pistol had a dark blue paint job with a small emblem on both sides. The emblem was engraved into the metal frame and it showed a depiction of Earth in front of two wrenches. Kazer reached for the large magazine in the grip and pulled it out. Inside was a bunch of rocks instead of bullets. After confirming his ammo count, he placed the magazine back into its slot, switched off the safety, aimed at the carcass, and shot it. A suppressed ‘bzzt’ sound rippled through the air as his dull surroundings amplified the sound. He walked back to the rat carcass and noticed a small hole that penetrated through the flesh only by an inch. Kazer let out a sigh as he holstered the gun without re-engaging the safety.

“Ok…” He stretched, “Let’s explore these concrete ruins.” He touched the stub of his right arm, which was currently wrapped in a blood-soaked bandage. “Hopefully, I can find a hospital or at least a bio-modification clinic within this place.” After grabbing his gear, he made his way towards a lonely road, deprived of life, that led to a dense section of the barren city that was shrouded in an orangish-brown fog. While getting a good look at the fog-covered city before him, he took a step back and reached for his helmet out of habit. After coming to the realization of it no longer being on his head, he spun a 180 and faced a field of scattered ruins and worn-down cars and tanks. “Tis-a-way.” He shouted in an attempt to lighten his mood. He then proceeded to travel down the broken path, began his journey in the unknown lands humans had once called home.

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