Broken Dagger Under a Bleeding Sun (2024)


Broken Dagger Under a Bleeding Sun (1)


Red Sun Reunion Series

Broken Dagger Under a Bleeding Sun (2)

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Atlas felt the rushing of wind around him as he plunged himself into the hole. This was his 43rd try. His 43rd attempt to get back to the world where the day broke. Atlas adjusted his goggles, and tightened his face wrapping. He stood up, patting dust from his Carhartt. And looked up. The sun sat suspended over the Mojave. And it was red. This was it. He had made it. Atlas loaded his rifle, and checked his map. SCP-1437 was almost 1,500 miles from Site-19. Atlas had a lot of walking to do. Clenching a cigarette between his lips through his wrappings, Atlas lit it and took a long drag. He had one shot at this. If he died, he'd have to get back here again, which would mean throwing himself into the hole again and again. If the sun got him, he'd end up like Kyle. Forever. Atlas wasted no time, and started walking east towards the Interstate, his back to the sun.

It wasn't long before Atlas encountered his first obstacle. Weaving his way in between cars on the highway, Atlas felt a hand fly out from under a car, grabbing his leg. He fired his rifle down at it, hitting the mass in the wrist, though it showed no sign of stopping. It was trying to pry off his coverings, but the almost seven layers he wore gave him time. Thinking fast, Atlas grabbed the can of hairspray from his side and held the lighter in front of it. The creature recoiled from the searing flames, letting go of Atlas' leg. Cursing his luck, Atlas took this opportunity and ran. Several dozen more figures lifted themselves from under their cars, and began chasing him. Atlas was fast, but not fast enough. If he didn't do something, they were going to catch up to him. He lifted a bottle from a pocket on his bag, lit a towel hanging out of it and threw it on the ground behind him. The co*cktail ignited, and three of the masses of flesh let out horrifying shrieks as they caught on fire. But there were still plenty chasing him. Atlas stopped in his tracks, turning around to face his pursuers. The twisting faces shouted promises of bliss at him. He ignored them. Pulling down the action of his rifle, Atlas fired two shots, blowing apart the "legs" of one of the creatures. It fell to the ground, already pulling itself back together. He did the same to another, then another.

"Atlas… Atlas, baby. C'mon, its so beautiful. The sun is so warm"

His breath caught in his throat. A weak croak escaped his lips.


He hesitated. He hadn't heard that voice. HIS voice, in so long. Thousands of years. A clump of flesh slammed into his back, knocking him onto the pavement. Soon, they were all over him. He raised the can of hairspray, immolating the twisting face of one of his attackers, but it was too late.

"sh*t sh*t sh*t!"

He shouted, turning his face away from the grasping tendrils where he could. But he was running out of time. Right before the last layer covering his hand could be peeled away, the unmistakable crack of a rifle burst rang out. Within seconds, the entire mass surrounding him had peeled apart, now on fire. Atlas clutched his bag and rifle, being pulled by his collar towards a nearby van. Without question he hopped into the back, and soon the van was speeding away.

There were three other people in the van with him. Two men, and a third person who seemed to have a more feminine frame. They were clearly GOC, as the two in the back with him were wearing full white suits, and the driver was clad in a red suit. Atlas sat in silence for a while, loading up his rifle as the two men inspected him. Eventually, one of them spoke.

"The hell were you doing just walking along the interstate? The place is a death trap."

Atlas sighed, taking a swig from his water bottle. Effective as it may be, the strategy of bundling up left him very warm in the desert air.

"I'm not from around here. Are you guys UN?"

As usual, the answer from his savior was instant.

"Yeah. Strike team 1102. Broken dagger."

The other man turned to the first, and punched the arm of his suit.

"Hey, good going Arsegike. Might as well tell him your social security too."

"Wait- I didn't mean to tell them that. I swear- the words just came out."

Atlas figured he'd drop the ruse now. Explaining to the two.

"I have this thing. I ask questions, people give the true answer. Never fails. I'll try to save it if you want."

The two nodded. The one identified as Arsegike looked Atlas up and down.

"So, who the hell are you. Foundie?"

Atlas nodded.

"Atlas Keyestone, Ethics Committee Liaison."

Finally making a sound, the driver chuckled.

Ethics? Christ, how the hell did you survive this long?"

Atlas figured he'd have nothing to lose by telling them the truth. He carefully explained his situation, quelling doubts about his story's validity with several classified details about the GOC no Ethics Liaison would know. A few hours of driving later, the four survivors crossed into Utah. The other white suit eventually revealed himself to be named Jackal, while the woman was identified as their team leader, Fox.

"Where's the rest of your team?"

Atlas asked. An awkward silence followed. Arsegike replied soon however.

"Sun got 'em. Thought you were done with the questions, asshat."

Atlas apologized, realizing the invasiveness of what he had asked.

"Mind telling me where we're heading?"

He tried to change the subject. Fox took pity on him, and informed him they were headed to a base in Cedar City. Apparently the remnants of the GOC in America were planning on relocating to a rendezvous in Nunavut. Away from the more mobile infected.

"I'm heading to Site-19, up near Green Bay. Think I can ride with you on the way?"

Fox took a minute to answer.

"Sure. We can use all the help we can get. Your marksmanship is good enough, I guess we can issue you a red suit if command signs off. Why are you headed to Site-19 anyways?"

Atlas lit a cigarette.

"I'm looking for my boyfriend."

Everyone understood. Nobody was going to try to dissuade him. After a few minutes, Fox spoke up again.

"Well Atlas, welcome to Broken Dagger. Pleasure to meet you."

The next three weeks were hard. Yes, Atlas was all too familiar with how to control a rifle, making marksmanship training easy. Sure, seeing an orange suit blow apart a school bus sized mass of writhing sludge was f*cking awesome. But learning the ins and outs of a red suit, almost blinding himself with blue bullets, and needing to clean said orange suit were not fun endeavors. During his first day at Cedar City, Atlas met the others. In total, there were about 30 personnel. The three members of Broken Dagger (four now, counting him), the operator of the orange suit- Clam, the five members of divisional command, three civilian survivors, Americas PSYCHE Ambassador- Mark Kennedy (no relation), several other members of assorted strike and assessment teams, and most interestingly- five members of MTF-Epsilon-6.

Atlas was pleasantly surprised to see the Village Idiots, and absolutely overjoyed to find out who was leading them- Captain Hayet Rios. Hayet was an old friend of Atlas' late father, Lieutenant Barry Keyestone of MTF-Rho-10. It was Hayet who Atlas asked where his father worked at his funeral, and who was forced to tell the young man about the foundation. It was Hayet who got Atlas his job, served as his guide to foundation life, and had saved his life on multiple occasions through his thousands of lives.


Atlas called out to the man, running towards him for a hug. The captain accepted generously, patting the back of Atlas' red suit.

"I'll be… if it isn't little Atlas Keyestone. Small world, huh? I had a feeling you made it. You always were the capable type."

Though as Atlas rejoiced in this warm reunion, his mind quickly brought him back to Kyle. Soon, short choking sobs crawled up his throat, and he hugged Hayet ever tighter.

"Hey- hey, buddy. What's wrong?"

The fatherly concern in Rios' voice was exactly what Atlas needed.

"Kyle. He- they got him. Back at 19."

Hayet cursed under his breath. Without a word, he consoled Atlas for the next few minutes, before duty called and he had to get back to work. Now alone in this camp of survivors, Atlas took to exploring.

Camp Cedar was small. The administrative building was a repurposed Domino's and the Barracks was a Best Western hotel. The two structures were secured by a perimeter of roadblocks, landmines, wrecked vehicles and walls of trash. The only thing that separated it from the ruined city as a whole was the flag of the UNGOC hanging high above the forsaken pizzeria. The city was "90% clear" according to the others, so Atlas felt comfortable enough taking a patrol outside the walls. On his way around, he came across a church. Feeling nostalgia for the days when he was young, spry, and believed in god- Atlas stepped in. The sight he found was disturbing. The pews were turned upside down or splintered. Tattered pages from the good book formed a carpet in the nave. The charred skeleton of the pastor was slumped over the equally burnt pulpit. Behind him, a stained glass window displaying Jesus on the cross hung. Where the son of god once was, however- the glass was broken. Staring down at Atlas from the center of the cross was the blood red sun.

Atlas woke up in the hotel's stranded elevator. The only area outside of the cramped bunks in the basem*nt which had no sunlight to leak in. Since the bunks were usually crowded, people used the elevator for hookups, alone time, or in Atlas' case- drinking, smoking, self-stimulation, and a nap. He checked his watch, and with some alarm, realized he was about five minutes late to a meeting in the Domino's. Standing up and quickly resealing his red suit, Atlas pried the doors back open and dashed out, the clatter of his now empty whiskey bottle soon followed by his rushed footsteps.

Atlas dashed into the dining area, and quickly took a seat with the rest of Broken Dagger.

"Hey Polygraph. Nice of you to join us."

Arsegike teased. They had started calling Atlas Polygraph, due to his anomalous abilities. He didn't mind the name. The base commander, Lance O'Riley, clapped to get everyone's attention, and then started speaking in his usual professional manner.

"Alright everyone, this is it. Transports will be arriving from FOB Fullerton in two hours. You'll start the trip by night, sticking to non-forested areas where possible. Rest spots have been designated along the journey. Clam will be taking the lead in her orange suit, followed by Epsilon-6, the civilians, Jamie's team, Marcus' team, and then Broken Dagger in the rear. Any questions?"

Immediately, Fox spoke up.

"Yes, sir. You didn't mention yourself in the convoy. Are you staying behind?"

Lance chuckled, and shook his head.

"God no. Me and the rest of higher staff, as well as Mr. Kennedy will be picked up via Helicopter in about 30 minutes. From then until you reach Fullerton, you're in command."

Fox sighed, and nodded. Typical. After a few more minutes of boring protocol conversation, it was time to begin packing up.

Atlas hopped out of the Humvee, dashing over to help Jackal. The convoy had been ambushed after about 3 hours of driving. A half-melted tree picked up the car in front of Atlas' and poured the people inside onto the roof of the nearby forest. Within seconds, the four people inside were turned. Atlas switched the safety off on his rifle, checked the blue bullets, and took aim. One of the -A instances was on top of Jackal. With a pull of the trigger, the blue streak flew out of his rifle and turned his comrade's attacker into a flaming slab. Nearby, Clam had pounded one of them into the pavement, and practically evaporated it with her arm-mounted weapons. Everyone was preoccupied, so Atlas decided to busy himself. Switching to full auto, he raked an oncoming wall of flesh to the south with an entire magazine of blue rounds. Once he stopped firing, the mass was burning and shrieking as it retreated further down the road, and the barrel of his rifle was glowing bright red from the heat. He quickly ejected his spent magazine and inserted another, pulling back the bolt. Next to him, Arsegike was torching the ditch alongside the road with his flamethrower, cackling with satisfaction. A shout from Fox took Atlas out of the haze of battle.


Wasting no time, Atlas dashed behind the Van, and started planting incendiary charges in a grid. Once they were all set, he started heading into the waiting van. And then he heard it again.

"Atlas… I miss you. It's so beautiful here. Almost as much as you. Come with me baby."

The mere presence of Kyle's voice drove Atlas into a rage. He spun around, and with a furious scream began to unload the precious bullets into the quickly approaching horde. A few seconds later, Jackal had grabbed Atlas' arm and thrown him into the back of the van. Without prompting, he blew the charges and the convoy sped off.

"The f*ck happened back there Poly?"

Fox was the first to probe him. Atlas immediately felt guilty. He had put the entire group in danger.
"My- I uh… They took his voice."

Jackal patted his shoulder.

"Yeah, I'm sorry mate. Happens pretty often. They try to get to you. Convince you to join them."
Atlas buried his helmet in his hands.

"Where uh- how far along are we?"

Fox checked the map.

"Got about 3 days until your stopping point. Why don't you guys get some rest. We won't be taking a break for a while."

With his team leader's urging, Atlas tried to rest. Soon enough, he had fallen into a shallow, uneasy sleep.


Broken Dagger Under a Bleeding Sun (2024)
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