The Group: Reassembling (Pt. 5)
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
As I sat in the dumpster, hoping I eluded the police and everything else, my phone popped up to show Jack's number (good thing I had it on "shut the hell up" mode), "God, I wonder how everyone else is doing".

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(Aw yeah, time for some recappage)

Far away in a desolate location, scientists gathered around a man restricted inside of a box, "Omnibus, are you ready for your test?", a doctor asked the man as the box rattled, shook and fell over.

"The moment you open that restraint, I'm going to punch the fuck outta you", he shouted as the scientists ran away from the area before letting him out.

In a flash, one of the scientists was throttled as he punched rapidly at the victim's face before getting shocked.

"Control yourself, Omnibus!", one of the scientist said with a button, activating the shock bracelets that were on his wrists, neck and ankles.

"I'm sick of controlling myself! I'm sick of being here! I'm sick of tests! and you know what", he said to everyone's surprise as he struggled to his feet.

The volts of electricity began to turn florescent before being absorbed into him, "I'm getting mighty sick of being called Project OMNIBUS", he said as his eyes flickered, he turned the same color as the lightning that surged into him as he pulled off the restraints.

"Sir, he's free! What do we do", the scientists panicked as one of them took a gun and prepared to shoot before realizing the man quickly stood inches away from the gun.

"Whachagondowidat? (what are you going to do with that)", he said before touching the man, electrocuting him and taking away the gun, shooting the rest of the assailants directly in the head before running through some invisible doors that opened up for him.

It wasn't before long before an alarm sounded as the man left out.

"Keep a lookout for Project Omnibus! make sure he doesn't leave the island!", an announcing speaker said.

"My name is Gavin Garracks...But I like to be called G-Dub", he said to himself as he ran through the island.

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I poked my head out of the trash can, the heat seemed like it was off as I ran back home. My mom looked at me as if I just came back from a shootout, "Where the hell you been, boy!?", she said, hysterically.

"Mom, I..", I began.

"I don't care, get in your room! stay there!", she said.

She didn't really say that, she actually lectured me, but it's too long to remember.

I went to my room with my brother knocking on the door, "where were you at?", he asked me.

"I went for a walk after meeting an old war buddy"

"Well, mom was worried, she kept asking me where you were, like I knew where the hell you were"

"What's your point, Phill?"

"Someone got killed like a few hours ago at the corner of Boro and Wethers street, severe head trauma, there was high alert on that part of the city"

"So.."

"So, mom thought you were gonna get killed by him"

"Well, nothing happened and I'm here, so there's nothing to worry about", I said.

"What's that?", he said, looking at my arm.

"nothing, night!", I said defensively as I went to sleep.

The Group: Reassembling (Pt. 4)
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
I decided to take a walk after a few hours of hanging out with NTB. Everyone had a good time just hanging out and playing video games, and everyone buzzing on me (as per usual). As I went outside, I focused my attention to the mark on my arm.

I began to think about things, like the infiltration, D-Dub being committed to the mental health facility, the conspiracy that may have something to do with G-Dub and Reesy's disappearance amongst a few other things.

It didn't take long for me to think about the doctors, the men in white with the facemasks on. I don't know what went down in that room, or what happened to me, but this mark on my arm had something to do with it. It was getting dark and I could imagine my mom ripping her hair out wondering where I was. I decided to call her.

"Say bruh, you lost?", a voice said.

"Naw man", I said, turning around to see a man that seemed like the robber type as I turned again and went on my way. I don't know how, but something told me to run right into this guy, knock him down and punch him in the face.

Soon, I turned around to a sound of a gun click before ramming my shoulder under his sternum, he shot the gun before getting knocked down as I grabbed his wrist with one hand while punching him in the face with another one.

He let out a loud grunt as a woman happened to be passing by before screaming at the top of her lungs, before I knew it, my knuckles was filled with blood, the man's face was pummeled through the ground. His wrist that I clasped onto didn't have a hand connected to it anymore and the pavement had miniature craters in it.

"Lady, you don't understand, he was trying to rob me!"

"You stay right where you are!", she said with a phone to her ear.

Didn't last long before I heard sirens as I ran. Before I knew it, I ran into the street only to get hit by a car. The car had a humongous dent in it but for some odd reason, I didn't fly over it nor go under it.

My arm started to burn as I continued to run, "You're fuckin' kidding!", I said to myself as I ran through the city and hid in a dumpster in a nearby alleyway on a completely different side of town.

As I sat in that dumpster, questions popped in my head, why am I not dead from that car hitting me earlier? How did I know to attack that guy and what made me do it? Exactly what the hell is going on? I said as I heard the police officers nearby talking about how they may have lost me before fading out.

The Group: Reassembling (Pt. 3)
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
NTB gained a couple of pounds since the infiltration since he was around my size starting off. Lafayette met us after his stand-up. A bespectacled big guy with a cigarette, I extended my hand, "B's told me alot about you, even the part where they all thought you died", he said.

This guy obviously didn't cut corners well.

"Yeah, apparently, I just received shrapnel damage that pierced me through here", I lied as I pointed below my sternum.

"You know, Devon had to get admitted because of that, huh?", NTB said.

"Who?"

"D-Dub", Dior growled, "You didn't know her name was Devon?".

I shook my head, despite us living with each other as long as we did, I chose to not get too close to everyone, hence the nicknames, "Just slipped my mind, that's all".

Lafayette made a few jokes about being on the road for his stand up routine and how no matter where you go, the food is always better at home because the other people sucked at cooking. We laughed for a little bit as Lafayette asked us what it was like being in the infiltration. We each got silent.

"Well, it's...pretty bad, bruh", I said, "It's like being in a really dirty city except instead of flies, you see bullets just flying past you".

Commander said nothing as Dior just shook his head.

"Damn, that bad, huh?", Lafayette said, as we all nodded.

NTB's phone rung as he answered it and in a few minutes he stood up, "Aw well, hey Lafayette, I'm bout to go, my son needs some stuff", NTB said as Lafayette looked as if ready to speak, "Don't worry, I'll have the game on when you get there, I gotta get a couple more rounds in from Alpha anyway", he said as he prepared to leave, "You guys welcome to come too, Lafayette knows how to get there", he said.

"We'll be right behind you", I said as I stood up.

Jack was nowhere to be found before he surprised everyone by walking to us from the bar, "Where we goin?".

"headed over to NTB's", I said.

"Well, y'all have a good time, I'm gonna see what I can get over here", he said.

"You have our numbers, right?", I asked in an older brother kind of tone.

Jack waved us off as he went back to the bar before going onto the dance floor with a guy being very close to him, "must be the liquor", I said as we each got ready to leave.

On the way to NTB's place, Lafayette spoke to me about things that NTB apparently told him about us, even the story about Bunkee when we left Reesy in the Jungle, right down to the time where we all (save for D-Dub, Commander and NTB) all slept in the jungle after D-Dub's rampage. We recollected on those times as we approached NTB's home.

Lafayette knocked on the door as we heard NTB's voice through the other side "It's open!".

As we entered the door, I learned something new about my former war buddy, this dude had virtually every video game system from the firstgen to current...I was so awestruck that I didn't hear his wife shouting at me to move out the way while she was watching TV. I eventually did after getting something thrown at me.

"Alright y'all, this is my wife, Leila and my son, Javon", he said, formally introducing me to a woman that at a glance looked a lot younger than she made herself out to be. Javon was slightly taller than most children I've seen, but after seeing Leila tower over me just a bit, I could see how that's possible.

The Commander stared at the systems beaming with anticipation as NTB noticed, "you wanna play?", he said as the Commander gave a minimally hyperactive nod, "well, go ahead, have some fun", he said as she gave a gasp before trekking through the games like an overexcited kid through a candy store.

NTB motioned to me and Dior to see him outside.

"Where y'all going?", Lafayette said, playing a fighting game with the Commander as NTB told them that we just needed to talk before going outside. As we went outside, Dior punched me in the shoulder.

"Dude, what the hell!?"

"Sorry, habit"

"Look, Do you guys know about the upcoming Ulgos invasion?"

We both nodded, "There's been word about it in the news for quite some time now, I'm assuming we're fine though, there's been no sign of proof", he said.

"Have you guys been able to keep up with the others?"

"Unfortunately, no...G-Dub and Reesy faded from the earth and Herbs is under the radar"

"Yeah, there was word that during the Ulgos infiltration, there was some people testing some kind of stuff on the soldiers, stuff that was supposed to help them "become better soldiers", some "super soldier" stuff to get rid of the Ulgos"

"Okay"

"Do you even know why we infiltrated the Ulgos in the first place?", NTB said.

I shook my head, all I remember was being put in camos and being told to go with god.

"The bulk of the apparent serum was in their vicinity, I think that whoever was in charge of the "super soldier" stuff wanted easy access to that element that just happened to be place where they were", he said, "and the Ulgos practically said they weren't gonna be moved so easily".

"That's bullshit", Dior said, "Just some conspiracy theory bs that people thought would be funny to post on the internet"

"I'm not sure, bruh, that could be true, but why you bringing that up?", I said.

"I think that's what happened to Reesy and G-Dub", he said, "I think that they may have been taken", he said as Dior went back inside.

"Not a word to her, okay", he said as he went back inside.

I walked back inside but not before looking at the mark on my arm, it didn't hurt or anything, but if NTB's logic was correct, I may have met the person that he's talking about first hand.

The Group Pt. 2
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
I woke up in a hospital, the nurse was nice enough to give me insight as to what happened, apparently I was shot right through, inches away from a pierced lung.

"Where's my gun?"

"You won't be needing that, Mr. Sellers"

"But my platoon needs me"

"Mr. Sellers, you were out for a long time, the war has been over for a few weeks, now"

I couldn't believe it. The image of my platoon flashed in my head, the explosion, the shot, D-Dub coming to my rescue, me asking wildly where the fuck was NTB and Herbs. Suddenly, an idea crawled into my mind, "what if they didn't make it?". I would ask the nurse where my platoon was, but I didn't know their names.

I was discharged two days later and as I got into my brother's car, I couldn't help but think about the war.

"You alright, Man?", he asked me, his car was a lot cleaner than mine was, his car put me in the mind of the Bunkee, one of the jeeps we commandeered during our boot camp days. Herbs managed to jack it and me, Dior, NTB and G-Dub would go nuts in that sumbitch. I remember one time, we managed to get Reesy to ride with us and we ended up ditching her in the middle of a forest while making wild animal noises around her, she eventually caught on and beat the crap outta me, thank goodness the Commander was there to break it up.

Girl packed a mean right straight.

"Who won?"

"You're not going to like the results, Man", my brother told me.

I already didn't.

I could still hear Commander Jellz shouting to G-Dub about cover fire before the sharp pain. Wherever they were, I hope they were happy.

My brother took me to a cemetery not too far from the hospital as we got out the car and saw a few people standing over a new-fangled cemetery, "Looks like another soldier came back home", he said as I went to the funeral, "What are you doing? Bro, you just can't go there, you'll get in some shit!", he said, narytheless following me.

I approached the group in black as I locked eyes with a familiar face.

"Hey, Man", she silently said to me.

"Hello Commander", I said.

The Group: Reassembling (Pt. 2)
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
"Yeah man, I bumped into Annie a while back and she told me to give you a call, to be honest, I thought you were dead, bruh", he told me over the phone.

"A while back?"

"Yeah, like a few days ago", he said, "Man, you there?"

I paused for a moment and looked at my arm.

"Either way, Lafayette's doing his stand up act in the Blue Room and he wanted to meet you, so if you're not busy, you think you can come by and show him some support?"

I looked at my arm while he spoke.

"Man, you there?"

"Yeah, I'm here, when is it?"

"It's going to be in a few hours, like around eight or something", he said as the sound of his son crying boomed behind him, "I'll see you later, I gotta go be a father", he said, "Leila!", I heard him say as the phone hung up.

I've been out for a while.

I prepared myself to go out as I told my mom and brother what was up, "I'm headin' out, y'all", I said as my brother told me to come back with a couple of girls as my mom told him to shut up.

I called the Commander up.

"Hello", Jack said, answering the phone.

"Jack, is the Commander there?"

"Why?"

"Because I need a ride"

"Where we going?"

"Jack, I'm going to the Blue Room"

"I'll let her know, see you later"

I heard the click of the phone hang up as I left out and walked outside. I looked at the mark on my arm, things just didn't add up, the people in white, the tranq darts, the mark on my arm, what did it all mean.

"Man! Hurry up and get in this damn car!", I heard as a honk bellowed from the Commander's car with Jack, Dior and the Commander inside, with Jack in the driver's seat.

I got in the car as we headed down the road into the downtown area, "I take it Benson called you?", she said.

"Yeah, hey Commander, when did you see NTB?", I asked.

"I saw him like 5 days ago, I just bumped into Leila at the supermarket and he just happened to be there at the time, we got into conversation and I gave him your number, he told me that he thought you were dead from the infiltration but apparently that's not the case", she said.

"Did you tell him about my plan to get everyone back together?"

She shook her head, "I told you, I'm not part of it"

Dior said nothing as he looked out the window. Soon we were in front of a club with blue neon letters spelling out "Za' Bloo Room" in fancy yet cheesy cursive writing. In front of the club were people that looked to either be getting into the club or getting thrown out. I approached the front door as a slghtly bigger gentleman stopped me, "Whoa whoa, you're not getting in here", he said.

"What's the problem? Tyrell, that you?!", Jack said as the man looked down, "You never called, boy, I thought you were gonna...", he started to say before Tyrell shushed him, letting us each in quickly with an embarrassed look on his face.

"What was that about?"

"Don't worry about it", Jack said as we walked into the club.

The club was chock full of people as the bar was right next to the front door, it was dim with a nice spotlight on the stage as I heard a familiar voice shout out to me, "Man! Annie! Dior!", he said, motioning us to go to him.

We began to sit down in the area and listen to Lafayette's stand up (very funny by the way) as the crowd cheered for him after the show was over. He went to our table and told us that he was going to be right out as we hung out and waited for him.

Whatever was on my arm could wait, I haven't seen him since the infilitration.

The Group: Reassembling (Pt. 1)
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
I woke up in a trance.

All I could remember was feeling something in my back before blacking out.

"Wakey Wakey", a voice said to me.

"He's still not responding, sir", a second voice said as I started to breath in and open my eyes.

"Behold", the first voice said, "he lives".

I opened my eyes to see white walls, a dim light over my head and two guys in white coats, I groaned a little, "Where the fuck am I?", I said, noticing I was strapped to this place.

"There's no need to worry, Mr. Sellers, everything will be explained in due time", the first voice said. It belonged to a slightly hunched man wearing some sort of stupid looking face mask, the second voice was a taller and younger gentleman.

"I said "where the fuck am I", if I gotta say it again, I'm going to hurt the both of you", I slurred.

"There's no need for hostilities, Mr. Sellers, you were recommended to us, we were sent here to help you", the older man said before holding something over my face, "Goodbye Mr. Sellers, I hope you enjoy the rest of your night", he said, pulling down his mask to reveal an old man.

I woke up on my couch with a burning sensation on my arm.

I pulled up my sleeve and noticed a complex looking mark on my arm as I began to turn on my TV.

The news was still talking about a potential invasion by the opposing forces from the invasion, but now I'm starting to wonder if I actually need to find the others as I looked at the group picture that we took.

I guess I just missed them.

The phone rings.

"Hello?"

"Man, that you!? Damn, bruh, it's been a while!"

"NTB!?"

The Group Pt. 8
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
I walked through the city, recollecting my thoughts, there could be a war going on in a matter of moments and the group, was still distant.

D-Dub's mental.

Dior's mad at me.

The Commander's gone awry.

and no word from NTB, G-Dub, Herbs or Reesy.

I'm really starting to think that this war may already be lost.

It wasn't until I crossed my fifth street light before I heard a sound behind me, I grabbed my gun and prepared for a stickup as I turned around only to see a black cat running off.

Whatever.

I was still on edge though, like something was following me, I saw myself looking over my shoulder a lot.

Soon, I felt something pierce me as I started to get dizzy, whatever I was undergoing got me blacking out quick...

The Group Pt. 7
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
"So everyone's gone?", D-Dub said as she sat there, staring at me as if I was a walking nightmare.

"That's not our call, all I know is that NTB's being a family man, G's out somewhere, Reesy's presumably dead and Herbs...", I started to say with a chuckle.

"What's so funny?", she said, pointing the gun at me.

"Well, Herbs skipped town because of a paternal scare", Jellz said.

"That's not funny, Man", D-Dub said, still pointing the toy gun at me.

"Multiple Paternity Scares", I said, laughing a bit.

"You do realize if she wanted to, she could kill you huh?", Dior said.

"And if she do, I'll laugh", Jack said.

"You wouldn't help me?!", I said as the atmosphere changed slowly from hostile to homely.

"Reesy's dead?"

"All I know is that no one has heard from her since the infiltration and even then, she wasn't there", Derek said (I'm changing personification just in case Dior somehow comes across this).

"Either way, I wanted to tell you about the upcoming..", I began to say as Dior interrupted me.

"She doesn't need to know about nothing you have to tell her, you should be apologizing, fucker", he said.

"For what!? getting shot in a war!? news flash! there were bullets flying everywhere, I'm lucky to have walked out with this!", I said, undoing my shirt and showing a small hole a few inches below my sternum. Not sure why, but I felt uncomfortable doing that in a mental institution with my former war buddies and Jack in the room as I quickly buttoned my shirt back up.

"Man, I can't say I forgive you or anything, because you didn't really apologize, but what I will say is that I am glad to see that you're still alive..that war", she said, holding her head, "I'm just glad it's over", she said.

Commander, Dior and myself each looked at each other as if we just heard the worst thing in the world as she looked at us, "What?", she said, looking at us. "So that crap on the internet was true!?", she said, as if answering her own questions, "Someone tell me something! Please!", she said.

"The war isn't over, girl!", Jack said, "As a mattah' of fact, there's been a series of attacks on our homestead already, people have been barred within their cities until further notice, Man over here just wanted to know if the group were still in one piece", Jack said before a horn sounded.

"Visitations will be over in a few minutes, I repeat, Visitation will be over in a few minutes", a voice over an intercom said as two doctors came in preparing to take D-dub out.

"Either way, we'll start coming over here a lot more", Commander said, "Now that we know where you are just to keep you updated on what's going on", she said as D-dub had an expression on her face as if she just heard the worst news in the world as she stood up and trudged out.

"Well, looks like she knows now", Commander said.

"Yeah, from the looks of it, she's gonna be here for a while", I said as we all went back to the Commander's car.

The Group Pt. 6
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
It seemed like only yesterday that we were back in that abandoned city, I can still feel the bullet going through my stomach, sometimes I wonder how I survived it, "Man!", I heard my mom say while knocking at my door awning.

"Yeah?"

"Someone's at the door for you"

I stirred a bit but woke myself up and put on pajama pants as I checked the door to see the Commander with a very reluctant Dior and Jack, "dude, you think you can put on some clothes", Dior said with a look as if saying "I don't want to be here".

In moments, I found myself in the Commander's car as we went up the road and into the busier part of town, "So what did you guys need for me to know about?".

"We're going to go visit her", Dior said.

"Wow, so you're finally ready to protect yourself, eh, Dior?", I said.

"My name's not fuckin' Dior, it's Derek, Derek Rivers...the nickname was supposed to be D.R. but no one ever gets it", he snapped back.

"He's just mad because you're coming", Jack said.

"Don't remind me", I said as Jack looked out the winded down window.

"It doesn't make any sense for the man that put her in that condition to just come and visit her", he said as we neared the institution.

It was nice, the waiting room had a nice flat screen tv tuned to a show about a visit to the ER (although if you think about it, that's like a big joke in itself), I sat down and watched the program as the Commander made her reservation, in a few minutes, I was told to get up as we entered through double doors which led to the outside on a path which led to a slightly smaller building housing the "patients".

I've been in places like this before but nothing ever this...swanky, the hallway had plastic pillars with pictures of people who I can assume were either workers or patients here. Either way, we went into another set of double doors (that required a card from the worker to open) and soon, we were in a gigantic room with people who were either watching TV, socializing or sleeping on a couch, it seemed more like a monitored nightclub than a mental health facility. "She just left group therapy, she'll be right with you", the aide said as she led us to a room with a table and three chairs, I volunteered to stand up behind Di..-ahem- Derek and The Commander. Jack reluctantly stood nearby.

Through the doors was a very silent but complacent D-Dub. Her hair was longer and she was in scrubs as her head was held down during her entrance and as she sat down, opposite of us. She lifted her head to show a very calm and relaxed expression before her eyes widened at me.

"Hey D-", I began to say before she jumped up and grabbed under her chair, pointing a toy gun at me as Jack crouched quickly. I stood there, my reaction time dwindled since the war as a dart hit me square in the chest.

"D!", Commander and Derek said to each other as for a moment, everything stood still.

"Man?", she said as she looked at me, "You're alive?", she asked as I nodded.

"I wouldn't have been if that was a real gun", I said with a smile.

"But what about...", she asked, noticing that neither Herbs, Reesy, NTB or G-Dub weren't with us.

"Well...", I started to say, preparing to give her the explanation of everyone else.

The Group Pt. 5
Swandive Flip
the_manneh
I managed to keep up with Dior as he turned around and gave me a look, "You can get as persistent as you want but I'm not telling you anything", he said as he opened the door to what seemed like his place.

"C'mon man, I just want to know what happened to everyone, it's not like I wanted to get shot, you were there when it happened, we got flooded man", I said.

He glared at me.

Commander stood behind, "Man, we all thought you were dead, we saw your body get carried off by the hostiles, D-Dub fought most of them off for you but we saw you get dragged off", she said.

"I don't remember any of that"

"We don't expect you to" Dior said.

"Where is she?"

"I'm still not telling you that"

"Where is she?"

"You think if you keep asking, I'm just gonna tell you?"

"You didn't go inside yet and I don't know if you know this but the hostiles are invading or were you comatose during the war too?"

Dior fell silent as he looked at us, "She's at the Merciful Arms Mental Facility, she's gonna kill me for telling you that, you know she always has that gun on her", he said.

"You'd think they'd take it away from her on the way there or something?"

"You gone tell her to do it?", he said.

We both shook our head, despite the group being one big family, We had a rule about D-Dub and her gun...she'll kill one of us. Almost killed G-Dub and Reesy after a small misunderstanding about something they said about her family, I dunno, all I remember is G-Dub running into my room telling me to be quiet as he hid under my bed. D-Dub ran into my room and I told her he just ran out the back door, once she realize I didn't have a backdoor, we were all her targets. Me, Herbs, G-Dub, Dior and Reesy all slept in the jungle that day..dunno why but she didn't go postal on the Commander or NTB.

Either way, I didn't bother to aggravate Dior any further, he could beat me up eight ways to Sunday so I bid him farewell as I crashed at the Commander's (she apparently didn't live too far from Dior). She lived at an apartment complex and occasionally got visitors from friends nearby. One of them seemed to like playing video games with me so I hung with him. Something was odd about this guy though, his voice was a very different pitch than what I was used to and he was kind of into fashion a little too hard.

I hung out with the Commander every now and again as I'd hear a knock at the door, "Oh, hey Jack", I'd say as he'd smack me over the head.

"The name's Jackson Nova Bell! Get it right, bitch!", he said

"What's the "nova" part about?", I asked.

"Because I'm like the sun, I'm hot and everything revolve around me!", he said as I rolled my eyes only to get slapped again.

I grumbled as I called my mom and dad up letting them know that I might be home a little late, I had to find NTB.

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