• "Okay this is going to be a bit-" Cassandra began as she put the lotion on her hands and put it to the sunburn on James' back.
    "Cold!" James finished.
    James was laying on his stomach with Cassandra sitting on his lower back so he couldn't get up, she had snuck up on him while getting undressed for bed and tackled him onto his stomach, he had only had time to take off his shirt before she got him. He had expected something much more pleasurable then what he had actually gotten.
    "You have been shot, stabbed, burned, sliced open, and tortured, most of which happened more than once and your being a baby about me putting lotion on sunburn?" Cassandra asked jokingly "turn onto your back now and let me get your neck" she demanded.
    James groaned and did as he was told. When he rolled over and she sat back down on him Cassandra had begun to put the lotion on her hands, but before she could get to his neck he gently moved her hand towards the scar on his left shoulder, "If I'm not mistaken a few on these scars are your doing" he said as he pulled her in for a kiss.
    "If you think kissing me will make me stop you have another thing coming Jack of Blades."
    "Listen, I've been meaning to ask you something" James began, but before he could finish Cassandra was swept away by some kind of invisible force. "What the ********? Cassy?" he said franticly looking around.
    Then he saw it, a shadow moving across the floor and under his bedroom door. "s**t!" He yelled.
    He quickly got out of bed and hit the alarm on his doorframe alerting the entire city of an intruder and ran out the door.

    James was running franticly trying to catch up with the Shadow that had kidnapped Cassandra, he hadn't even bothered to put on a shirt to cover all his scars before he ran outside, he knew if he stopped it could mean death for her. He watched as the Shadow went under the gates to his city, he had a hard time keeping track of it because it was so dark outside.
    "Open the gates!" He yelled to the guards.
    "Sir there is a demon out there pacing in front of the gates."
    James looked at his watch: 12:07, "s**t" he said quietly.
    "I don't care open the goddamn gates!"
    When the gates opened enough for him to get out he ran outside and saw Cassandra standing there: In the hands of Odis.
    "Odis? What the hell are you doing here?" he yelled. Suddenly the Shadow that kidnapped her had pulled himself up a few feet behind Odis. Soldiers of the First Order started charging up to the gates armed to the teeth, guns pointed.
    "Back inside" James ordered.
    "But sir-" General Haze began.
    "That’s an order General, its Saturday they wont kill me or her." James said
    The General sighed in resignation "Move out!" he ordered walking past the troops back to the city.
    When the soldiers left and the gates closed behind him James could feel the anger rising up inside him.
    "How is your side doing?" Odis Laughed.
    "Let her go Odis" James said angrily.
    "Oh Jack, ye of little faith, I assure you I will not harm a hair on her pretty little head.... yet" the demon said with a sickening grin.
    "You're not allowed to take prisoners Odis, you know that, if you do Terrah himself will be on your a** in a day or less."
    "Ah, you see, I have already planned for that, the rules are I am not allowed to torture prisoners, taking them hostage is all together different."
    James eyed the gun he had pointed to Cassandra’s head, the Shadow who captured her standing behind him. He couldn't help but wonder even in such a situation what the Shadow looked like under the cloak blacker than the devils heart, he supposed it only crossed his mind as a way to keep himself from screaming in rage.
    "Five days from now I will be launching a full assault on South Korea from North Korea by land and Japan by sea, which means exactly five days from now my soldiers will have footing on your soil and I swear to you they will not fail, it will take the entire force of your unoccupied soldiers to stop us. Also eight days from now I am going to kill your dearly beloved" Odis smiled and tauntingly licked the side of Cassandra’s face, "I hope she isn’t too nasty-" he was suddenly cut off by a headbut to the jaw from the woman he was holding hostage. It didn’t phase him much however, blood ran down his chin "I guess we can't have everything now can we." James watched as the Shadow sunk into the ground and moved under Odis "we will be at an abandoned military base 350 miles northeast of the border between North and South Korea, you have my word she will not die for one week from tomorrow." Suddenly the Shadow Rematerialized inches away from Odis' back and dragged Odis down to the ground slithering away like the cowards they are... taking the love of his life with them.

    "Why would he do that? He had her right there why not just kill her?" Adam asked.
    "He wants to make me choose between her life, and a part of the empire, aside from that it had been Saturday for nearly ten minutes" James replied pulling his black T-shirt on.
    "But that’s exactly what confuses me, you have an empire, not just one country, all you would have to do is borrow the armies from a few countries and lay waste to the entire force, it’s daft."
    "He has teamed up with the Shadows, I don’t think they will be there, I have only seen them twice, they may be skilled but they are cowards."
    "Well that does complicate things, the combined force of five Commanders would require the combined force of the Empires army... including the First Order because very few of the soldiers aren't fighting in Brazil right now." Adam sighed "our options are limited we can't pull the soldiers from Brazil to send instead of the First Order because that would just bring up other problems."
    "I know that Adam, Which is why I am putting General Haze in charge of the First Order, and you, me and Master Chief Avery's infantry are going to find Cassy." James said as he put a sword over his back and walked out the door to his weapons room. Adam had barely noticed James putting on several weapons while they where talking, he had actually put a sword on each hip, each with unique ornate symbols that very few humans understood embedded into the hilts, a belt full of fifteen throwing knives around his waist, a shotgun over his right shoulder, and a plain factory made sword on his left that James purchased long before this war had ever started, back when he was traveling the world.
    "But Jack that is only 52 soldiers, he could have thousands there."
    "He won't, he may only have two or three hundred because he knows he is going to need the entire force he now commands in order to even be in the same league as me, and aside from that he knows I wont take the First Order with me so he knows he wont need very many, for all he knows I'm coming alone." James replied without stopping or turning around.
    Adam jogged up beside his friend "you've lost your mind you know?"
    James snickered "good lets hope Odis agrees."
    "No you really have gone insane" Adam laughed.
    "Also get a hold of Jamie; she will be tagging along as well." James said.
    "Now I know you've lost it" Adam said quietly as he walked away to call Jamie and the available military bases.

    Adam hung up the phone and sighed, he hoped it was enough soldiers. He walked out the door to his office and walked down the long corridor to James' office. When he got to the door he didn't bother knocking, he walked in and stood in the door way for a minute, waiting for permission to enter. James had a phone to his ear, two phones on hold, and he was looking at a map of North and South Korea. James waved Adam in, "Alright thank you very much, I appreciate it" he said hanging up the phone.
    "Who was that?" Adam asked.
    "French Prime Minister" James replied picking up another phone, "Mr. Secretary, sorry about the wait" he paused for a minute, obviously to listen to the reply, "twenty-five thousand, that’s fantastic, I will need them sent to Kangnung ASAP, and if you can get any more in the next few days please send them, anyone coming back from shore leave, any reserve soldiers" James paused again. "Really? Forty thousand? That’s perfect, thank you so much."
    He hung up that phone and picked up the last one, "Hello" he said, "Mr. Castro, always a pleasure... really?.... Thank you, I can't tell you what that means to me, please send as many as you can to Yosu and Pusan over the next 3 days, they will meet up with the Spanish navy there, we can get the simple formalities out of the way after this little problem is dealt with."
    James hung up the phone "how did it go?" He asked.
    "Well..." Adam began, "the First Order camp in Magadan is ready to go, that’s thirty-two thousand, I took the liberty of telling them to leave ten thousand behind to protect the camp, General McDonald is ecstatic to see some action, it’s been fairly quiet there. The camp in Yozgat is already on its way down, that’s sixty thousand; unfortunately the other 3 camps around the empire can only send five thousand each, they are swamped, so all together we have one hundred and seven thousand First Order soldiers on their way, some by air and some by sea."
    "Fantastic, that plus the fifty thousand we're sending from here, the two hundred thousand of the Spanish navy that is leaving first thing tomorrow morning, the forty thousand troops going by air from the United States, and the twenty-five thousand going from France is four hundred and twenty two thousand soldiers. On top of those I just got of the phone with Raul Castro, he agreed to join the empire finally; he’s sending ten thousand to Florida as we speak to meet up with the US air force. Amazing isn't it? For fifty over years the United States and Cuba had no contact, now they are going to war together." James smiled.
    "You tend to have that effect on people Jack, even a year ago this world never would have joined under one rule and now not only is the world united, or at least most of it, but countries that used to hate each other are fighting side by side" Adam replied.
    James smile broadened "Well Commander General lets go find Cassandra."
    "Yes sir."

    James walked out of his house and headed for the helicopters a few yards away, "fire them up!" he yelled. The sound of the engines of the four helicopters rung through the air, the blades began to spin. James watched as soldiers went to their designated helicopters. Fifty two he thought, before he could finish what he was thinking he saw two people jogging up to him, "Lieutenant Tony? What are you doing here? You should be with the rest of the troops on your way to Korea by now" James said looking the soldier in the eyes.
    "Well sir, I went to pick Jamie up" the Lieutenant began pointing to the woman on his left.
    "Always a pleasure James" Jamie said with a smile.
    "Like-wise" James replied, returning the smile.
    "As I was saying" the soldier began again, "I wanted to request permission to come with you, if not I will leave immediately with the last group leaving for Korea."
    "Non-sense, I could use an extra hand, and Jamie, I will expect you to show the same amount of respect for my orders that the soldiers you are accompanying show" James said gently.
    "Of course James, I've already been briefed on the seriousness of the situation, and that the Shadows may not be there, however I'm still more than happy to come along on a chance that I can kill one of those bastards" Jamie replied. James nodded, he knew she would stay true to her past vows, and if she had to die in order to keep her vow she would do exactly that.
    "Move out then."

    "I've been thinking" Odis began, "This war, all of it, it's just a way for the Devil to create a new hell, and I'm beginning to question what the point in us demons doing this for him is."
    Cassandra decided to take the bait, she was strapped to a chair for the next week, it’s not like she had anything else better to do. "Why is that Odis? You demons seem so committed to your task there must be some reward for all this if you win."
    "That is exactly the predicament I'm having, he never promised us anything, and he basically said 'go the world of the living, slaughter any opposition, or spend an eternity in torment.' He however never said that even if we won we would not spend an eternity in torment."
    "Then why do it?" Cassandra asked.
    Odis grinned widely and leaned down close to Cassandra, "because my lovely little prisoner, I'm good at it."
    "Weither Jack is coming for me or not makes no difference, I will forgive him if he doesn't, I will forgive him for not risking millions of lives for mine, but sooner or later Jack of Blades will come for you, and he is going to make you suffer, you have my word."
    "We shall see Cassandra, we shall see."

    James could see land up ahead, they would be at their destination in a few hours, "alright troops, we have 4 days to get her back and kill every last demon there" he began over the radio that was linked to the other helicopters. "I want to be set down 30 clicks from the base, we'll drive the rest, remember no prisoners." He shut off the radio and enjoyed the ride; soon he would have his future wife in his arms again.

    The helicopters touched down in an abandoned town approximately 30 kilometers from the base where Odis claimed he would be holding Cassandra.
    "Start making camp" James said to Avery, "I'll be back in a few hours" he added.
    "Where are you going sir?"
    "I'm going to find a car or something I can hotwire and go see what we're up against" James answered as he watched his soldiers put up small make-shift tents.
    "Sir requesting permission to come along" Avery said standing at attention.
    "Permission denied Chief, the less attention I attract to us the better, and if I take anyone with me it’s just one more chance of us getting discovered."
    "Of course sir."
    James walked the streets of the small town, he saw no bodies so he assumed it had been abandoned when the demons invaded. He had seen several cars around, some with keys still in the ignition but none where to his liking, and then he saw it: a sleek black street bike, he couldn't help but grin when he saw the keys hanging from the handle bars. He decided it would be better if he didn't question why they where hanging there and instead just take the opportunity.

    James parked the bike two kelometers from the base and walked the remainder of the distance. When he saw the guard demons at the front gates he thought it might be a better idea not to go through the front doors, thankfully they didn't notice him, otherwise he would be dead by now.

    "The satellite images show that the base can hold up to four thousand demons, lets hope for our sake they don't actually have that many" Adam said turning his head slightly to look at Avery standing to his left.
    "Even if they do we might still have a chance, we just need to take out the guards here" she said pointing to the picture, "and hope they don’t sound an alarm before they die."
    "Its likely they have troops patrolling the parameter as well" Tony added.
    "True but if we attack at night we can likely take them out between shifts."
    "And how do you suppose we do that Avery?" Tony asked in an ignorant tone.
    "Watch it Lieutenant, it just so happens that Avery used to be in charge of special ops missions before this war started, if anyone can figure a way to do this, she can" Adam said.
    "Even so that wont be necessary, you're all going home" James said walking into the tent.
    "Jack where the hell have you been?" Adam asked "its been over six hours."
    "I went to scope out what we're up against: That base is packed to the breaking point with demons, at least four thousand, its a huge base. They have seventy-five patrollers that go around the base on the ground and eight birds eye view guards who will hit the alarm if they even think there is a threat. They go in shifts twenty-five on the ground at a time, and two in the guard towers, they rotate every two hours. Aside from that, they have Cassandra in the Generals barrack, which is guarded by two demons by the front doors, and Odis is inside with her at all times, so this mission is scrubbed, you're all going home."
    "Sir" Adam started "what do you mean 'you're all going home'?"
    "I'm staying."
    "I wont leave you here do die alone Jack end of story" Adam said without hesitation.
    "Neither will I" Avery added
    Adam walked out the flaps to the tent, "Attention!" He called. All the Soldiers assembled in even ranks in front to Adam.
    "Jack seems to think we're all going home" he began. He could already see the soldiers getting angry at the very thought of leaving a battle, "he also seems to think he is staying behind... to fight four thousand demons alone." everyone around started to voice their objections, "here’s the deal: either we all go home, or we all stay here, the odds of survival here are very slim, but I think we can all agree that we fight odds not much unlike this on a daily basis. Without further a due I give you your choice, if you wish to go home please step forward" Adam waited; no one stepped forward. He turned to James "I think that means we're staying Jack."
    "You know I would court marshal every last one of you for disobeying direct orders right?"
    "Yes but it will have to wait until we get home."
    James stood before his troops, "I will give you one last chance to step forward, you will not be discharged for running, you will have no one call you a coward, if you choose not to step forward leaving will be considered disobedience as staying here will be a direct order." Still no one stepped forward.
    "Lets raise some hell" Adam said with a grin.
    "And I think I can help with that" Jamie yelled from a nearby building.
    She stepped out of the building with a crate in her hands, on it was clearly marked two simple words: TWENTY GRENADES.
    "Where did you find this?" James asked.
    "There is a small arms dealership over there" she said pointing over her shoulder to the building behind her, "and clearly whoever owned it also had his hands in things that were questionable at best. There must be fifty of these crates unopened in a hidden room over there, along with three rocket launchers with about 5 rounds each, about a dozen AK47's and enough ammo to suit a dozen trigger happy soldiers."
    James couldn't help but smile now, "I have a plan."

    "Snipers, ready?" James said into his headset.
    "Sniper one on point, target marked."
    "Sniper two on point, target marked."
    James looked around, his troops were well hidden, not even he could see them. it was exactly 3 minutes until the next shift change. He looked at his watch: 11:57 pm Thursday.
    "Patrol guards ready?" He said into his headset.
    "Patrol guards on mark" he heard the squad leader say.
    He turned to Jamie, "ready?"
    "As ready as I'll ever be."
    "You know your mission right?"
    "Yes sir, go in, 30 seconds after the marks are down, flip the switch and run like hell."
    "Good girl."
    James looked over and saw the next 25 troops come out of the base to start their shift. The original shift troops didn't leave until they knew for sure that every other guard was on point. He watched as they met up.
    "All marks on point, permission to engage" the squad leader said over the COM.
    James Switched to full team COM, "Engage at will."
    James heard two sniper rifles fire twice and watched the four demons on the towers drop. Then he heard a few other strange sounds, then silence again.
    "All marks down."
    "Alright you know what to do, 30 seconds or less." He watched as his troops quietly snuck into the base gates and quickly went behind the barracks to avoid being seen by the two guards by the Generals barrack.
    Jamie started to look antsy, she wanted to get her job done, "go" James said. Without hesitation she ran inside.
    "This is suicide" Lieutenant Tony said from behind James.
    "Quiet! You had your chance to leave."
    "And I'm taking it now, I'll be at the city when you come to your senses." The lieutenant took off into the bushes behind him.
    "s**t, I need a new point guard" he said over the COM.
    "Ready sir" said Avery from behind him.
    "Jamie are you done yet?" The COM was silent. Then he saw all the lights in the base go out, "Pop it!" he yelled into the mic piece.
    The sound that came from the explosions was deafening, although he had no time to think about it.
    He Ran into the gates with Avery at his side, past the burning rubble, and splintered buildings. Past the wreckage caused by dozens of grenade crates exploding behind the buildings. James fluidly pulled the sword off his back and stabbed a demon that came for him from the left. He ripped the sword out the demons side and let it hit the ground. He could heard battle cries from his soldiers, cries of pain from the demons. Demons of rank trying to shout orders that fell on deaf ears in the midst of this chaos.
    Avery took a left into a building and threw a grenade from her belt. She calmly walked away before hearing the explosion come from inside. Suddenly the entire building was up in flames, demons ran out in horrific pain.
    Avery turned to watch the building burn for a second before turning to James, "propane tanks maybe?" She said with a smile.
    James pushed a button on his headset, "Now!" He yelled. Without hesitation his troops flooded back through the gates of the base and started to kill without mercy, demons dropped by the dozens, some ran from the burning buildings only to fall into another demon. James; without hesitation ran for the Generals barrack, When he got their the guards where still at the door. James ducked under a sword aimed to cut his head off and pulled a knife off his belt, he thrust his sword up into the chest of the demon on his left and threw the knife at the demon on his right, the knife hit home clean in the side of the demons head, dropping it like a rock.
    James let his sword go with the demon it was buried in and pulled the shotgun off his back. He kicked the door in and pointed the gun directly at Odis. When he saw how small the building was the thought it better if he didn’t shoot him with the shotgun, instead he smacked the demon in the face with it knocking him into the desk on the right side of the room, then onto the floor. James threw the gun and pulled a pistol off the holster on his leg, put a foot on the demons throat, and pointed the gun directly at his head. "Stay the ******** down this time."
    Odis tried to get up, tried to get the foot off his throat, he was fast, but not faster than a bullet, James fired the gun between the eyes of the demon and watched blood spray out the back of its head.
    "Hello Cassandra" James said cutting the ropes off her legs, then moving behind the chair to cut the ones holding her hands.
    "James!" She cried throwing her arms around him as soon as she could.
    "I wish there was time for this right now Cassy but there isn't, right now we have to get down."
    James and Cassandra dove at the ground just in time, they listened as they heard several whistling sounds, then explosions that went with such force that the windows of the building they where now in exploded inward.
    "Can you run?" He asked.
    "If I have to."
    "Can you fight?"
    Cassandra went wide eyed, "If I have to."
    "You have to" he said pulled a sword off his waist. Cassandra took the hilt and nodded.
    Before she could run out the James caught her arm, "I know this probably isn't the best time to ask this but I may not get another chance: I love you Cassandra, will you marry me?"
    Cassandra jaw dropped "Although this definitely isn't the best time, yes I will marry you" she said nearly in tears. She leaned in and kissed him quickly but passionately. "But first we have to get out of here in one piece" she said smiling. He couldn't help but smile back despite their situation.
    "Lets go kick some a**." James said taking her hand and pulling her out the doorway.