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For some reason, I always hated the night sky. It always seemed dark, cold, and merciless every time I stared at it. So naturally my latest mission took place outside, at night. To the defense of the military, the rogue target we were sent to kill only ran amok at night, how were they supposed to know that one single soldier personally didn’t care for it? Besides, this night sky was filled with the bright lights of stars, thankfully taking off a bit of the sky’s edge.

I and a few soldiers were sitting on the nice cold grass telling stories and playing cards to pass the time. Two soldiers were hidden in the forest doing something that was surely none of my business. At least three were reading books next to a tree, and our troop leader named Jameson stood out right next to a cliff that lead straight to the ocean. Every so often, he’d check out his digital wristwatch and look down while muttering something unintelligible. 

I was sitting with a few buddies, shooting the shit and talking about embarrassing memories we all had. I was telling a particularly dirty one that involved a cheating commander; it was practically a favorite of mine to tell. And then, just as I was about to finish the story, we heard Jameson calling us all towards him. 

“Alright men let’s go!” Jameson exclaimed, “I think our target is in the open!”

When we heard that, all of us ditched our time wasting gear and very quickly starting putting on our “Flight-E” flying equipment. After all besides me, none of the soldiers even knew who we were going after, and they were all curious. We made sure to fill our tanks with enough fuel to have us soaring the skies for hours. Then of course came the obligatory masks we had to wear, I always joked how these masks made us look like animals. 

Soon, all of us were energized, our Flight-E’s were geared up and on, and we were ready to go. Jameson then started having us get into formation and pointed in my direction.

“Matheson, I was told that you know the most regarding our wanted man. I request that you stand by my side as the others are informed.”

I slowly nodded and walked to Jameson’s side. 

“Now for everyone else listen up. I’m aware that you all have been very curious as to who our target is. Don’t think I haven’t heard all your crackpot theories and wild tales. Since we’re now almost near him, I feel it’s time I should answer you. Our target is Jason Broderick, inventor of the Flight-E’s.”

That of course stirred everyone up. I heard several shouts of “No way!!” “Screw this!” and “How did they even find the bastard?” around me.

As the chatter continued, a loud noise that came from a metal whistle silenced everyone. 

“This is not the time for you to stand around and spout out random nonsense!” Jameson said, “We’re here to kill Broderick and nothing else. If you see him, attack with all your strength. Show him no mercy! From what Matheson here has told during our journey to this place, Broderick will try to fly above you in an attempt to dismantle your Flight-E tanks. Don’t give him that chance! If you do, consider your life over-”

“Not exactly.” I said, gleefully taking the attention from Jameson. “Right before he went insane, Broderick had implemented a sort of repair kit in the new Flight-E models that would patch up the broken tanks, giving you another chance at flight. All you’d have to do is land on a piece of land and make the repairs. It was one of the last attachments he ever made for the Flight-E.”

“And if Broderick were to attack you while you were making repairs?” Jameson asked, a little miffed that I stole his spotlight.

I gave him a shrug and said, “Well, then you can consider your life over! Now then the most-”

“Excuse me.” Some jackass said loudly, clearly wanting to tear me down.

“What Fred?” I made to add some distinct amount of disdain in my tone.

“What gives you the right to just migrate from another team and tells us how to fight a maniac like Broderick? Just because you were both friends a long time ago and you just happen to know certain things we might not don’t mean shit-”

“For one thing ass-hat I was more than just his friend! He told me information about the Flight-E’s that not even his scientific colleagues knew about. You’re always bragging about how much you know bout the Flight-E’s? I saw him build the fucking thing. I certainly more than any of you do at this rate because if I didn’t then you’d scoff at me explaining the repair tanks which none of you did. So if you don’t have any more questions please shut up and let me talk.”

Fred awkwardly blended in with the crowd as I regained my composure. 

“As I was saying. You’d better make sure he doesn’t get below you. If he does, he’ll try and dismantle your Flight-E from the bottom panel, make sure your tanks are completely locked before flying since Jason might try to unscrew the lid. Also, make sure the tank is full. Jason will try to fly around aimlessly hoping your tank will run out of gas. If you paid attention to my advice, then we’ll win this for sure.”

After my rousing speech, we all started our Flight-E’s. They all roared to life, it gave some of us a smile. We all counted to five making sure the engines were given enough time to start operating correctly. The engines purred satisfyingly and we were all up in the sky soon with Jameson and me at the front. 

The stars did their best to give this world a little light, if any but in the end they barely helped us see. As I got to see the stars more clearly, I was a bit unsettled by their color. There were orange stars, green stars, no white stars at all. I tried looking down, only to see a big ocean filled to the brim with creatures recently discovered with the help of nuclear weapons. 

Since I couldn’t get peace from looking up or down, I looked to my left and saw Jameson. Hoping to start a conversation I yelled, “Jameson sir!”

Thankfully he heard me. “What is it?” He replied.

“You know what Flight-E means right?”

“Flight-Equipment.” 

“Yeah, did you know it was originally called a Flight-Uniform or a Flight-U?”

“I didn’t. Why the change?”

“Because a I told him that many people would end up abbreviating the title further to just F.U.”

Silence entered the environment before Jameson let out a deadpan “Hilarious”. I suppose I was meant to take that as not funny, but the little smile on his face convinced me otherwise. In hindsight this whole bit was a stupid conversation that ended with a cheap laugh but I wanted to lighten my spirits a bit before I went to kill one of my best friends.  Soon, all of our tanks blinked red and we stopped on a flat piece of land to re-fuel. 

While the other soldiers were messing around, Jameson and I were in deep discussion. 

“Now Matheson, you said Broderick has been wearing a prototype Flight-E model?” 

“Not even a prototype.” I said, still trying to wrap my head around the completely ridiculous story I knew. “The thing he’s wearing was made for a school presentation. It has an extremely low energy take, and it had two tanks built on it, probably because he thought the kids would prefer seeing two instead of one. It wasn’t even built for combat!”

“And yet here we are.” Jameson coolly said, “So, if we can destroy one of those tanks then he’ll go all wild and try to land?”

Laughter erupted from my mouth as Jameson grew irritated.     

“If he was that easy to takedown you wouldn’t have even needed me to come along on this mission.”

“Ok then, since you’re obviously much smarter than I am, why don’t you inform me how we should try and take him down?”

I looked past Jameson and gave out a sigh, that naïve part of me wanted to convince Jameson to try talking to Broderick. But I knew that if we gave him so much as an inch, he’d take a foot and we’d all be dead. I then drifted off into thought as memories began filling my head.

“How come when you’re outside, you’re always looking down at night?” Jason asked as we were sitting in my room drinking cola, cold from the fridge.

 

“Hmm? Oh, I just never felt comfortable looking up at the black sky with all those stars. It reminds me how vast this universe is and how insignificant we are in the long run. Not to mention how fucking creepy it looks.”

 

Jason gave out a laugh and put a hand on my shoulder.

 

“Well think about it. If the universe is so vast and we’re so insignificant then there are other planets just as insignificant as us. So we’re not the only ones.”

 

I smiled and sipped some more cola “Thanks for trying Jason but I don’t think I’ll ever be cured of that fear.”

 

Jason shrugged his shoulders and emptied his cola can.

 

“Well, at least you’re not having fly outside during the night am I right?”

 

“You’re right on that.” I said, giving a little chuckle.

“I know that it’s difficult.” Jameson said with a comforting tone, waking me from memory lane. “It’s never easy to betray a friend, even after they’ve gone rogue. But you must try, if not then this monster will-”

“I know what he’s capable of!” I snapped back, trying to think. 

Just then we both heard the others going wild and starting up their Flight-E’s. I looked up and sure enough there he was. I always considered Broderick’s smirk to be unnerving. This time, seeing him smirk awfully as he was choking Fred by his own straps was downright terrifying. After Fred stopped struggling, Jason let go and watched as Fred fell into the monster-infested ocean. 

As I saw other soldiers try to take them out and get their asses handed to them I motioned Jameson to follow my lead as I started up my Flight-E. Seeing Jason in that stupid blue and red uniform either made it silly or even creepier.

“So tell me man, how were able to make this?” I wanted to sound chill and relaxed but seeing your best friend flying around in a jetpack was bizarre. I couldn’t pick my jaw from the floor as I struggled to say any more.

 

Jason grinned like a motherfucker as he landed and took off the machine. 

 

“Pretty amazing ain’t it?” Jason asked as he sat the device on the table. “Brent State University gave me funding to create this baby.”

 

The sight before me amazed me and yet I was still able to notice that Jason looked very different. He was greasier, dirtier, and messier, I even noticed a beard growing on him and he always shaved. His eyes were buggier as well, popping out of the skull.  I tried to ignore it by asking more about the device. 

 

“What’s it called J-man?” I asked, folding my arms.

 

“I call it the Flying Uniform!” Jason said excitedly.

 

“So, the F.U.?” 

 

Jason quickly blushed and went back to his machine. 

 

“Well, the name can change. Anyway, I finally did it. I actually created a device worthy for the army.”

“The military?” I asked, silently grunting at the fact that this was another attempt to kiss the military’s ass. 

 

“Yes. As soon as I present the machine to the University, I’ll have it produced and shipped for the soldiers.”

 

This obsession had been growing for a while. I remember telling him that I signed up and he was absolutely thrilled, asking me all sorts of questions that I didn’t know yet.  

 

“Well J-man, I’m glad it worked for you.” I said, putting a hand on his shoulder. This made him flinch until he saw it was I and eased up a little. 

 

Soldiers were dropping like flies in the battlefield. Jason killed several men in various ways from attacking their tanks to biting their bodies.  Some soldiers were trying to repair their tanks that just gave Broderick an advantage to knock them into the ocean. He also managed to take their weapons and use them against the men.  When he laughed, god it made me cringe. I was truly scared that this whole mission was going to be a waste of time. 

Jameson and I were merely circling around, trying to find a way to get him but he was too fast and brutal. Soon, I decided to land on a very small patch of ground where Jason was. As he savagely fed another man to whatever the fuck that fish thing that lived in the ocean was he finally turned towards me and smiled.

“I was wondering when this would happen.”  Jason gave the most awful smirk as he walked towards me.

“When what would happen? When we’d fight? Are you so far gone that you’re not even hesitating to kill me off?“

Jason gave a shrug as he stopped. “Why should I? You obviously knew what you might be forced to do when you agreed to come here. That didn’t stop you did it?”

“I didn’t wanna let the military down. I figured you of all people would respect that.”

Jason hissed venomously as he grabbed a stolen weapon.

“I’m not like that anymore.” 

“Not like what anymore Jason?” I angrily asked. Jesus, the guy set up a presentation for the local elementary school to see and then he didn’t even bother to show up. Ever since he made that damn Flight-E machine, he’s been a complete ass, not to mention a crazy nut. 

 

“A mindless fan of the military.”

 

Jason, as usual by now, ignored me after his short sentence and causally stroked a big brown bag that lay in his garage. He then turned towards me, having a serious look even though he was dressed in that ridiculous outfit.  A baseball bat fell from one of his shelves but he quickly caught and put it on the down.

 

“All those reflex training sessions were worth it man.” Jason exclaimed, looking more and more like a psychotic killer.

 

“C’mon Jason.” I begged, walking towards him. “Everyone is waiting for you.”

 

“I know, even the principal is waiting and he’s desperately wanting to leave.”

 

I groaned, “Just because one person didn’t wanna see your machine, doesn’t mean you should act like a little spoiled princess whose not loved by everyone. Hello? Am I even coming through to you?”

 

Jason looked at me and smirked, it was the first time I saw it and I recoiled. He opened the bag and started stroking whatever was inside.

 

“Well, I made it so that that principal wouldn’t be late to his daughter’s performance.” 

 

After he pulled back from the bag I saw that his hand was colored crimson red. I put two and two together I didn’t want to, I really didn’t.  Then again, considering how Jason was acting recently, it didn’t even surprise me. I couldn’t even react as Jason starting furiously punching the bloody body inside until it made wet squishy sounds. I heard him scream like a madman, about how arrogant the principal was, how hard he worked. 

 

All I fully understood was that I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran at him only to get stopped by his hand gripping my throat. He turned his head to face me and let go as I gasped for air. Jason’s face showed betrayal at first but then contorted into hatred as he took the prototype and flew off. 

 

I then laughed as he approached me. “I forgot about that.” 

“Don’t act like you wanna make up now! I’m gonna kill all of you off, that ought to give everyone a message.”

“You know what Broderick, I don’t even care what your pans are anymore. All I’m gonna give is a warning. Either give up or-”

“Stop that! You don’t have the upper hand, almost everyone you came with are dead!”

I gave a smirk of my own as I said, “Notice how you said almost.”

Jameson then flew towards Jason but he wasn’t prepared. Jason dropped the weapon by my feet and grabbed Jameson, starting to kill him the same way he’s done to the other men. Except of course, I had the weapon. I threw it at him, knowing he’d catch it and then I gave him a tackle he couldn’t shake off. As Jason let go of Jameson and fell to the ground, I pinned him down and starting punching him. I didn’t even care that I was hurting a fiend by now. I just did what my gut told me to do and I did it with a bloody passion.

Soon, Jason was nothing but meat, soggy, bloody, and unrecognizable. I rolled off of him and wiped some of the body tissue off my arm. Jameson came to me and sat down.

“We did it. We finally killed that maniac.” Jameson said.

“We did.” I agreed, rubbing my temples. “You know, oddly enough I felt no challenge as I fought him. I mean, all this time he was built up to be the ultimate adversary and all that. In the end, fighting him was as easy as a Balloon Fight.”

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AN: This was written by Mr. 1up-Mushroom. Give feedback and comments!

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