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Zeiss by LoganT






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Table of Contents
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Story Notes:

The following story is set in the Twilight universe and will soon include the Twilight characters themselves, and is written from the perspective of a human named Zeiss. This story's focus is on how a human can make a difference in the world of the supernatural.

 

Twilighted beta:vjgm

Author's Chapter Notes:

This prologue is written from 3rd person perspective. All other chapters will be in 1st person.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. 


 

 

Zeiss briskly walked down the brightly lit hallway, a guard in full body armor, complete with automatic pistol, a step behind him. The hallway wasn't long, it's purpose was to serve as another choke point in case of an intruder. At the end of the hallway, they stopped before a steel door, very similar to the half dozen he had to pass to get to this point. Each had required some sort of test or recognition, such as a DNA sample or retinal scan. This one simply needed a handprint. He pressed his right palm to the glowing green rectangle on the wall. After a moment, the door slid open and there was the hiss of air pressures equalizing; the room beyond was sealed.

Zeiss gave a curt nod to the guard, who didn't dare to pass the threshold. As soon as Zeiss took two steps, the door sealed behind him. The room had several fluorescent lights in rows on the ceiling, making this room of white walls and large steel tables as uncomfortably bright as the hallway. A half dozen men, all in stark white lab coats except for one in a dark gray suit, stood in the center of the room around one of the tables, obscuring it from vision. The one in the suit was balding and had a thick white mustache, and it was he who turned to speak.

"Hello, Zeiss." His tone was informal, but his voice was gruff. "I know this isn't the usual place where we speak, but due to a change in circumstances, it was necessary." He gestured to Zeiss's one-piece black bodysuit. "I see you came in your bodysuit, as I asked." Zeiss simply nodded and asked, "What's going on here, Orman?"

Orman tensed. "To put it bluntly, we're through. The upper levels are already being torn apart as we speak."

Zeiss nearly gasped, his entire body tensing. Although he lived in the lower levels of the immense underground complex, he couldn't imagine that the insanely fortified and concealed entrance could actually be threatened. He was, apparently, wrong about how hidden it really appeared to the enemy. Somehow they had destroyed the early-warning systems so the rest of the base was blind to their intrusion.

"I'm initiating the Tyler Protocol," Orman continued, ignoring Zeiss's reaction. "Myself and the other members of the VADAT will defend the one way into this level."

A question formed on Zeiss's lips, although he had already begun to understand the answer.  "Who is the catalyst?" he asked.

Orman stared at him, his expression hard. "You are the best trained, the fastest, and if I may say, the most intelligent member of VADAT. You'll take the Mark VI and leave through the false air ventilator tunnel. You know where it is."

Zeiss's breath caught again. He couldn't defy a direct order, but he couldn't leave them to die, their only purpose in dying to allow him to escape. He steadied himself and said, "All you have left here is the Mark III and some of the older II's. They aren't strong enough, and the blades aren't sharp enough to cut their skin."

Seeming to understand his hidden plea, Orman replied, "Our death's won't be just for you. This entire facility needs time to destroy itself and our research. It can't fall into their hands. All of the necessary actions are being taken, but the technicians need more time. We'd be holding them off to help them as much as help you. Besides," Orman reached out and grasped Zeiss's left shoulder, his grip unyielding,  you know how much we've all sacrificed to get this one Mark VI operational. Years of research, trillions of dollars from around the globe, and all the lives sacrificed to keep it a secret. We can't let it be destroyed in such a one-sided battle. There are over ten of them up there!" As if to illustrate his point, a faint screech of anger and hysterical mania echoed through the walls and from above. 

Orman looked directly into Zeiss's eyes. "You are the best I have. Take the VI and escape. Hide, strike out against them when you can, but all who can know your secret will die here today. This is one of the few chances to save our species. Don't waste it."

He released Zeiss's arm, his expression still stony. He said nothing more, just gestured to the table. After hearing his speech, Zeiss knew the importance of this piece of technology lying on the cold steel in front of him. He stepped forward and stared, his face blank.

Once, long ago, man wore armor not only to protect himself, but to terrify his enemies. Horns placed atop helmets, spikes too whimsical for battle pointed from every joint, fearsome beasts were painted on shields, all meant to show the armored man was a force to be reckoned with. The armor on the table was similar in that it was to protect its wearer, but lacked horns or any such nonsense, as the enemy would be dead before it had a chance to feel fear.

Midnight black plates joined at seamless lines, utilitarian necessities blended into the surface to preserve the shape. It was nearly an inch thick, but Zeiss knew that it did absolutely nothing to hamper movement in any way. Instead, it enhanced it, giving the wearer untold speed and strength. The helmet was simple, it had a thin line of plastic at eye-level to provide visibility. A small, form-fitting backpack sat underneath the chest plate. As a whole, it was elegant and had the edge of danger, but the graceful body armor had nothing on the weapons.

Two swords, a few inches across, jutted from each elbow on a separate joint, angled forward and reaching far past the tips of the gloves. The arm-side of the blade was dull and smooth so it could not cut its bearer, and a short handle protruded from this side, so that they could be grasped and controlled. The blade needed to be swung in clumsy, whole-arm motions and lacked the subtlety and grace of a true sword. Zeiss knew, however, that the blade was a hundredfold more dangerous than any simple sword, and having it attached in such a way as to prevent disarmament or turning on its wielder was a true advantage. Right now, the swords were partially retracted into a hollow by the triceps on the upper arm so they didn't reach past the hands.

Zeiss was so caught up by his amazement, as he always was, at the one result of the concentrated work of hundreds of humanity's finest scientists that he jumped slightly at Orman's command to the men in white lab coats next to him.

"Suit him up. There's little time left."

Automatically holding out his arms, the technicians began the process. It took nearly half an hour of uncomfortable prodding and standing very still to complete it, and all the while Zeiss could feel the shudders of the structure above him. He could not determine whether or not the distant screams came from friend or foe.

As the final strap was tightened and the suit pressurized and heated to the precise heat his body needed, he donned the piece most easily removed and attached: the helmet. It fit perfectly, as the scientists were busy fitting it to his exact size since before he'd arrived in this lowly sub-level side-lab. At first, he could only see through the small clear plate. He flexed his left ring finger at the second knuckle and whispered the appropriate command,  Initialize. 

The entire inside of the front of the hemisphere of the helmet suddenly blazed in bright white light, then quickly muted and showed a perfect representation of the room, except that he not only saw the visible light spectrum, he saw the heat signatures of the scientists and the trail they left in the air. The visual system was more attuned to cold objects than hot ones, however, and he only saw the result as dim orange light quickly fading in midair. This particular piece of technology, almost like stretching an LCD television on the inside of the helmet with multiple minuscule cameras relaying the video feed, helped him to retain visibility when most of the helmet was armored for protection. The LCD even covered the clear plate so he could see the heat signatures where his eyes normally focused, the plate wasn't there for much more than an emergency backup in case the power failed. Zeiss seriously doubted that could even happen.

He stood for a moment, rocking back and forth on his feet to test his balance and ensure that everything was working perfectly. A new set of diagnostics were initialized by twitches of his fingers and a few command words but quickly ran their course. He was ready.

Zeiss looked to Orman, who nodded. "Godspeed, Zeiss. And god help you."

In a blur of motion, Zeiss slammed through the nearest wall and the next, bashing a straight line to the hallway that led to the ventilation shaft. He moved as quickly as he could, for while he moved much faster than a human, he knew that what was chasing him wasn't one. He did not fear them, he told himself. He only knew what they were capable of. Orman was right, he couldn't take ten of them on with only a few older versions of the suit as backup. He'd be killed within minutes.

Reaching the end of the hallway, Zeiss drew back his fist and punched the steel door. Grasping the side of the hole he'd made, he ripped the door from its frame and casually tossed it over his shoulder. He took a step forward and looked down.

The main ventilation shaft came down from ground level to the lowest basement of the complex, nearly seventy floors down. The rush of air through the fifteen-foot tube was very powerful. If Zeiss hadn't been in the armor, it would have already knocked him down and into the void. He carefully turned himself so he was facing away from the shaft, then reached out and touched the interior. If necessary, he could have just forced his fingers into the sheet metal for a handhold, but instead he used his gloves' powerful friction grips to hold onto the smooth surface. He used the same material on the toes of his boots to steady his feet, then began his descent down the main air shaft.

 

After five minutes, he reached the false vent. Tearing the cover off and letting it fall down the shaft, he forced himself inside the small space headfirst, then quickly crawled down its length. The exit of the shaft came out the side of a small cliff a few miles away from the base. It was actually an incomplete tunnel, he would have to claw his way through fifteen feet of dirt and rock before he escaped into the nearby forest. The forest surrounding the base was a perfect place to hide it, the entrance was disguised as a typical logging camp and sawmill, with a full compliment of loggers, the smuggling of immensely expensive materials were done through the shipments in and out of the place. He idly wondered how many loggers the enemy had left alive. Probably none, Zeiss thought.

 

The crawl would take him some time, and he was left with the predicament of what to do once he was out. The Tyler Protocol was clear: the person bearing the Mark VI was to extract himself and use whatever methods he had to combat the threat to their species. Zeiss finally thought the word he had been avoiding.

 

To use whatever methods to combat the Vampires.

 

He had known of their existence for over five years, since joining the facility as one of the envied VADAT members. He'd been transferred from the U.S. Secret Service at 24 years old to VADAT for his extraordinarily reflexes and quickness of mind. Now, he was the only one of them left.

Zeiss considered his options. He was alone and cut off from supplies, and although the power source in his armor would never run out, it didn't help with provisions. The first place he would have to head towards was shelter, somewhere he could use as a base of operations while he considered his next move.

 

He couldn't go to any city or town, as he couldn't remove his armor without the help of technicians to put it back on. Thank god it handled and processed his basic bodily functions, but it still meant he couldn't just walk into a supermarket and buy a loaf of bread. He briefly considered stealing, but he brushed the idea aside. His mission was to ensure the survival of his species by eliminating the enemy, and stealing from his fellow man was morally wrong and risked his secrecy.

As he considered to mull over the details, a plan began to form. He would have to find someone who would share the secret, house him, and provide him with the means to continue his mission, although at the moment all he needed to do was hide. He had no family, and no friends outside of the base, so no help from that angle. He slowly began to realize that there was no alternative to the plan that caused him to grit his teeth in anger and fear. He knew that without help, he would die, or worse, fail in his mission.

 

He wondered if the vampires he had been briefed about nearly two months ago (coinciding with their discovery) were enemies with the rest of their kind, if their seclusion and non-violent habits were a punishment. He hoped it was one of those options, for otherwise, they might not be willing to help.

 

Whatever the risk, Zeiss decided, he had to try to speak with these Cullens.

 

Chapter End Notes:

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