The base has grown old and decrepit. The maintenance of its halls has long since ceased, and those who once inhabited it have gone their separate ways. No one ventures anywhere near the entrance anymore. There is no reason to. But still, it calls.
A young man stepped forward to the husk of a broken structure in the empty park that had once hidden the secret group from the world. But now the hidden door in the trunk swung absently open on rusty hinges, the dark maw of the elevator shaft looming inside. Dead grass crinkled under his boots as he stepped forward and gripped the frame of the doorway. In the past there would have been a password, a scanner, all manner of security to prevent intruders; but now there was nothing. He slowly pressed the old, cracked button on his right to call up the elevator. A bulb lit dimly and a motor creaked to life in response. It seemed not everything was broken, simply unused. The man's coattail caught on the door for just a moment as he slipped into the elevator, kicking up dust and causing the massive steel tube to shift just slightly as it took on his weight. He had faith that the old system wouldn't fail, he had helped design it after all. But who knew, after all this time? He brushed his thumb over the finger print scanner, a pointless action born of nothing but the ghost of a habit. He checked the bag over his shoulder and nodded briefly to himself, taking a deep breath as he pushed in the button labeled "lobby." The elevator creaked to life once more, and began it's descent.
How long had it been since he had last taken this elevator? Years? Decades? It seemed like it was all a lifetime ago. A lifetime since he had seen his comrades, and fought along side them.A lifetime since he endured the madness that seemed to fill the world in their presence. In a way, he was glad it was all done. No more fighting, with the madness or with each other. While it had been fun, it has also been trial after trial, as it always is when different people are brought together. They had been a team, not a perfect team by any means, but a team. A family.
The elevator slowed to a stop and it's doors slowly slip open to reveal a room full of darkness. A few dim lights flickered here and there, but largely it was black and empty. The young man reached into his bag, pulled out a flashlight, and flicked it to life. Bits of the room jumped into clarity as he stepped from the elevator and swept the beam about. Dust lined nearly every surface, and the air was thick and stale. An oxygen mask slipped over his face and he took a deep breath as he clipped his light to his shoulder. The ventilation systems must have shut down after everyone was gone. If he wanted to breathe freely he would have to restore those. The lights were also a priority, but the generator was the main concern. If that wasn't functional then nothing else mattered. He only hoped his memory was good enough to get him there. He reached into his bag one more time, searching with his hand until it found a farmiliar rubber grip. He slid the object from the bag and weighed it in his hand. The very sight of it made memories surge to the front of his mind, but he closed them out. There would be time for nostalgia later, for now he had things that needed doing.
His footsteps echoed down the halls as he made his way to the generator room. He wondered if this was anything like what the last few stragglers had felt. This emptiness, this unsettling loneliness in what was once just like their home. He himself had been gone long before it had reached that point, and he had no idea who had been the last, so the question was perhaps a pointless one. Still, though, he had only been down here a few minutes and already the state of things was beginning to strike him. His light swept over holes in the wall, gaps in the ceiling and shattered lights. Puddles of water appeared here and there where water pipes had become rusted and damaged, giving birth to colonies of mold. If the entire compound was anything like what he had seen so far, then he could understand why it had been abandoned in the end.
The generator room was housed beneath the bunks and the armory, three floors beneath his current location. He hoped the stairwells were still intact, otherwise it would be a trail getting that far down. He took a brief glance at the broken camera overhead, the device was hanging by it's wires from the wall. In a way he was grateful that the security systems were down; they might not have recognized him after all this time.
Thankfully the stairwell was still accessible, and although pile of debris blocked his way down after descending only one floor, it was a start. He turned to the next door and brushed the dust off a metal plate mounted into the wall beside it. The simple label "Bunks" reflected in the glow of his light. A short struggle with the rusty hinges of the door later, and he was in the hallway. This corridor was in even worse shape than the last one. The walls were in better shape, but nearly all the overhead lights had been broken and there were even holes in the floor in some places. He would have to be careful not to put too much pressure on the weakened floor if he wanted to get through in one piece. Taking slow steps forward, he carefully tested the ground in front of him. Soon he found the rhythm for it, and was able to turn his attention to the doors that lined the hall on either side of them. Another familiar sight. There were once plates like the fist one on every door that announced their occupants, but many had been broken or rusted into illegibility. On the one closest to him he was able to read out "Tri----------gi" everything in between was hopeless. Another simply bore two letters; two painfully familiar letters. A few pictures lined the walls between the doors as well, presumably displaying the occupants of the bunks. Most were damaged, or missing all together from what was left of their frames. He only saw two that seemed to still be in decent condition. One portrayed a young woman in a black cloak, the other a rather plain looking teenager with blonde hair and glasses. He shook his head a bit sadly as he walked past them. He wondered what became of them all in the end. He let his attention slip for just a moment as he pondered this, and his foot hit the floor with a crack that broke the silence of the hall. He didn't have time to jump before the gap opened in the floor and he plummeted through.
One long moment later he landed sharply on his back, the sound of a metal surface bending harmonizing with the thud of his impact. The young man let out a groan and slowly sat himself up. His entire body was aching in protest. He felt around with his hand until he found the rubber grip again and pulled it to himself. He took a glance around the room, cringing lightly as his neck cried out in pain. He had fallen right to the next floor, and he seemed to have landed on a van. He carefully slid down off the roof of the vehicle to the hood, then to the ground. He knew this car well. They all did. He walked around to the side to look for the familiar label that named it. Instead he was met with a mass of green writing that seemed to have been spray painted over the previous writing in a scrawl so bad it seemed like a monkey had done it.
"The king lives." he read aloud, almost surprised to hear his own voice. This place was beginning to get to him.
He checked his bag to make sure everything was in one piece, took a deep breath from his oxygen, and began to explore the room. The walls were lined with rows upon rows of weapons of all shapes, sizes, and functions. Many had never been used or, in the case of some of the experimental ones, only used once. He considered for a moment grabbing one for himself, but dismissed the idea. He had the only weapon he needed.
If he remembered correctly, there should have been a way straight down to the generator from the armory, just in case. He simply had to remember where it was. He stepped through the room slowly, sweeping his light about to look for anything suspicious. He noticed a control panel on the far wall, just by a small motorcycle with three wheels. Making his way over to it, he slid a three-pronged tool from his bag. Sometimes they had used these when it came to locks in the base. But upon opening the panel he discovered the instrument was unnecessary. These locks they all knew how to solve. Deviously simple, and ingeniously stupid. He aligned the four symbols and was awarded with the click and hiss of the wall to his right sliding open, revealing a long brass pole down into a dark chasm. He barely stopped himself from smiling as he wrapped himself around the pole and dropped.
With a much softer thud than previously, he landed at the bottom. The generator room was just as much a mess as the rest of the compound, if not worse. The massive turbine generator rested as always in the middle of the room, it's controls lay in the form of a a pedestal about five feet from the metal behemoth. He stepped slowly over to the panel of knobs and buttons and once again pulled the three-pronged tool from his supplies. This time he inserted the end into a matching slot on the panel and carefully turned it clockwise with one hand, using the other to manipulate various dials. three lights flickered to life on the control panel, and slowly the gauges began to wiggle, and then settle into place. The massive generator screeched as the parts and gears inside began to move after ages of inaction, and the a few moments the whole thing shook violently. Soon, however, the whole setup was purring like a kitten and the lights began to flicker on. The young man nodded to himself and retrieved his tool from it's slot in the panel. Good, the power was back on. That would make the rest of the job easier.
It did, in fact, make the job much easier. Restoring the power had brought the maintenance elevator back to life, which meant he should be able to ride it right to his next destination. He walked over the the elevator door and pushed the call button. The rumble of this elevator was not as pronounced not that the generator was filling the room with noise, but one could still feel its descent. Thirty seconds later the doors pulled themselves open and the man stepped inside, pressing a button for a destination marked "M".
He was going up this time, which suited him just fine. He never did learn how far down this whole place went, and he didn't want to spend the rest of his days trying to find out. The maintenance elevators were slower than most of the other ones, so the ride took awhile. He could remember complaining about it back in the day. How little it mattered now.
The elevator doors opened into a dimly lit hall. The generator was back on, sure, but if the lights were broken then it didn't matter how much power got to them. It was enough, though, so he continued on his way. He could see the door for the main control room at the end of the hall. A sign hung over the doorway, half rusted. But he knew full well that it had once read "Administrator." That was where he needed to me.
He froze, his muscles and grip on his weapon tensing. The security systems were back on? That shouldn't be possible. And even if it was, they should still recognize him. Even if he had thought it earlier, that didn't mean it was true. He shallowed out his breathing and listened carefully for the source of the mechanical voice. A small motor was humming down the hall, but there didn't seem to be any other threats. Taking careful steps forward, he advanced down the hall. The voice still spoke out in a broken, robotic gargle every now and then, but now it sounded less threatening and a lot more desperate to him. The young man glanced around the corner slowly to look for the source of the noise, and nearly jumped backwards when he saw it. A massive hunk of metal lay on the ground just around the corner of the hall. Vaguely rectangular in shape, he could make out arms and legs if he looked carefully at the mass of machinery. A red eye flickered dimly back at him as the same audio repeated, echoing down the corridor. It was a sad sight to see the compound's best security drone in such a state, but there was nothing to be done for it. He turned back to the door and reached for the handle.
The door to the control room swung open easily, and he stepped into the small room of monitors, control boards, and microphones. A leather, rolling office chair rested in front of the main dash. He slowly lowered himself into it after wiping the heavy layer of dust from the seat. The power button on the main console blinked dimly, and he reached out to push it in. Monitors all around flicked to life, displaying views from the few cameras that were still intact. A steady hum of computer disc motors and fans spread into the air, and lights all over the dashboards switched on. He was in control now, the whole compound was at his fingertips. And yet, he was alone. There was nothing here, nothing to gain; just piles of memories and the remains of a once great team. Many had fallen, and some were lost. The base was his now, but it was an empty victory. No, there was only one thing for him to do now. He reached out the the keyboard, and began typing.
It only lasted for a few moments. Last night, every television in the world, on every channel, displayed the same image. There was no audio, not a single spoken word. It is a mystery. The governments of the world have tried to find the source, and none have succeeded. If anyone knows what it means, none have come forward. The transmission showed only one thing, one single image. A young man with brown hair and blue sat in an office chair inside a darkened room. Around his body was a long red coat, and something that appeared to be a putter spray-painted gold lay propped up on the chair at his side. He was looked right into the camera and held up a piece of paper with two words scribbled down in simple black pen.