A Division Story - Alan

As you may have noticed from my past couple of posts, I have been playing The Division a lot lately. I had a particularly good gaming weekend yesterday playing the game. It must have subconsciously stuck with me because last night while sleeping at had a rather pronounced dream about the world and an agenda named Alan. Well, he didn't have a name in my dream.

I woke up this morning with the dream still vividly sticking with me, so I sat down this morning and wrote the story you see below. I hope everyone finds it interesting. 

A Division Story - Alan 

Snow was falling lightly from the grey, overcast sky. The rooftop snow crunched under Alan’s boots as he paused to look up, watching the flakes slowly fluttering down.

Alan had been in Manhattan for three days now, activated during the second wave of the Division’s call, after the collapse of New York. For three straight days he has been running, providing support to the JTF and doing what he could to try and bring New York back from the brink of anarchy. As a former Army Ranger he had seen some pretty horrible things in the field, but the past three days challenged his morals and his resolve like nothing previous ever had. The devastation that the green poison wrought upon the city was beyond anything he could have imagined and seeing the malice and brutality that the residents of New York brought upon each other made him question every individual he came across upon the street.

Alan took one deep breath and then refocused his attention back down to the building across the street. He was standing on top of the roof of an apartment building on 3rd street on the Eastside of Manhattan. Across the street was a small office building. Intel from the JTF indicated that Rikers were holed up inside with hostages. There were no signs of life from the outside, and the situation made Alan nervous. It wasn’t like the Rikers to not show their presence and with no one patrolling outside, something seemed off.

He dropped a rope from the side of the apartment building and repelled down without making a sound. His feet hit the pavement and he took one look to his left and then to his right before making his away across the street, moving from car, to car, to barricade; staying in cover before ultimately stopping at the front door. He pressed his back up hard against the cold stone of the building and listened carefully. Nothing, no sound at all. He tilted his head around the corner and peaked into the lobby of the building. It was clear, and he was beginning to think that perhaps the reports were wrong and there wasn’t anyone here at all. Alan turned the corner and entered the building, shouldering his SMG with caution as he began to clear the first floor.

The main lobby was exactly what he expected to find. Broken glass was strewn across almost every surface, and the building was looted for everything that wasn't bolted to the floor. Alan was just about to ease up when he finally heard it. Steps coming down the stairwell to his right. He quickly ran over to the stairwell and hid behind the open door, ready to ambush whoever was coming down the stairs. He put up his SMG and pulled out his silenced M9 and pressed it against his face as he waited. His heart was thumping in his chest and he could have sworn that anyone else in the room would have been able to hear his heartbeat. 

The steps continued to grow louder, and Alan could see through the small crack between the door frame and the door as he waited. The person walking down the stairs finally stepped onto the landing and through the crack in the door, Alan saw  the unmistakable flash of yellow pants worn by one of the Riker’s inmates. Alan waited until the Riker was all the way through the door before he acted, but when he did, it was without hesitation. He swung out from behind the door and smashed the butt of the handgun into the back of the man’s head. The Riker screamed and went down to the ground and Alan quickly pressed his knee into the man’s back to subdue him. Unfortunately, that scream was heard and the echo of footsteps came rushing down stairs. Two more prisoners came around the corner. Both were down before they even had a chance to realize what was happening as Alan put two rounds into each of them, while still kneeling on top of the first Riker. Their bodies crumpled into the doorway, one on top of the other and blood began to pool on the floor. Alan could hear the whimpering voice of one of the Rikers as she tried to draw her last few moments of breath. Alan looked only for a moment, before turning the M9 back onto the man he was kneeling on top of. 

“How many of you are there?” he asked, pressing the gun against the man’s head. The Riker at this point had now recovered.

“Fuck you man.” was his only reply. 

Alan removed the gun from the man’s head and pressed it against his abdomen and then squeezed the trigger.   There was a “thump” and a jerk from the Riker as the bullet entered his body and then hit the hard linoleum floor underneath. The man cried out in pain.

“I am not going to play games with you. That was about an inch away from your liver. The next one will be going into your liver. Tell me how many of you are here.” Alan asked again, this time with an absolute, cold directive. 

“Seven!” the man cried out. He was getting saliva and snot all over Alan’s glove which was pressing his head down against the cold floor. 

Alan, moved the gun up from the man’s side and again put it against his head. He squeezed the trigger twice and released the pressure of his knee off of the Riker’s back. The Riker was dead and even before the man came down the stairs Alan knew exactly how this encounter was going to end. 

Alan was thirty two years old. He completed three tours in Iraq as an army ranger. He loved what he did. He was good at what he did, and the friends he made and lost out there were the type of people you hang onto for the rest of your life. When he was done being a ranger though he wanted to get out of the military. That world was exciting, sometimes fun, but it always took its toll on you in the end.  Pieces of you get lost that can never be recovered. After completing his time in the army, Alan hoped he could settle into a new life back home. He got his degree as a veterinarian and for the past eight years he worked in Vermont as a large animal vet. It was the sort of quiet life that so many vets hoped they would get when they were done with the military.

Alan holstered his handgun and made his way towards the stairwell and began the climb up the stairs. He reached the door to the second floor and peered into the room. The commotion from a few minutes ago had clearly been noticed, and across the room, barricaded behind a half wall dividing the office were four Rikers, armed and ready for a fight. Amongst them were eight hostages, two of them were children. 

One of the Riker’s was standing up, pacing left and right behind the hostages. He was showing an overt amount of confidence in his position.

“Come on out you pig!” He began. “Show yourself or we gonna kill all of these hostages. This is our neighborhoo…”

The man never finished his sentence as a bullet struck him in the head, snapping his head back. Alan wasn’t there to hold negotiations.  The Riker fell straight back, his head whipping back before he crumpled onto a desk behind him. 

Alan was already out from the doorway and moving before anyone could realize what was happening. Two more Rikers were quickly downed before they could even get a shot off, and the last one was now kneeling behind the wall for cover, pulling a woman wearing a brown knit sweater to him as a human shield. The man raised his gun over the cover and began to blind fire towards Alan. Alan dove for a support column in the office as bullets bounced around him.  He grabbed a smart cover plate from his pack and slapped it against the column, instantly giving the cover an electrical charge which slightly deflected oncoming bullets. The Riker was panicking and could at any point begin shooting the hostages if he felt that he had no other options left. Alan knew that he had to move quickly.  He peeked out from the cover and quickly scanned the area. He could see that all of the hostages were kneeling or lying on the floor with their hands over their heads.

Alan made his move. He rushed out to his right from the support column along the far wall. He was hoping he could flank around to the Riker’s side to take him out before the man even knew that Alan had moved.  Alan was almost in a sprint and just a dozen or so feet from the half wall when the door to a side office just in front of him kicked open and one more Riker walked out. 

About two years ago, Alan was approached by one of his old mates about a new program that the government was putting together for national defense. He wouldn’t say what the program was, but he did say that it was a special operations group that was designed to protect the country if we were ever to have a domestic threat inside our borders. It took some time, but Alan was persuaded to join up, in part because he thought the group would never actually see action. No one really believed that we would ever see a threat inside the United States. He never expected that he would be killing American citizens on American soil. 

“Shit”, Alan said to himself as he was now caught in the open, his momentum carrying him forward. Instinct took over and Alan dropped his SMG, and pulled out a ballistic shield which he deployed on his left arm. The shield unfurled and finally locked into place just as Alan made contact with the Riker. The Riker opened fire and the bullets ricocheted off of the shield and sent bone numbing repercussions up Alan's arm. The Riker tried to react, but Alan's weight and momentum were too much. Alan pressed and leaned hard into the shield as they made contact. The two fell together and with a bone crunching thud Alan and the shield landed on top of the Riker. Alan unholstered his sidearm and shot the remaining Riker holding the hostage. 

Still laying face down on top of the shield, Alan quickly surveyed the area. All of the hostages appeared to be unharmed. The woman with the brown sweater sat on her hands and knees, looking at Alan, the body of the dead Riker laying beside her. Alan dropped his gun and pressed his hand on the floor to try and lift himself up from the ground. Pain lanced through his left shoulder. His arm was dislocated. Alan rolled over onto his back to slide his arm from out of the ballistic shield and struggled up to his feet. With his right hand he quickly examined his shoulder. There didn’t appear to be any broken bones. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and popped his shoulder back in place, letting out a grunt as bone grated on bone momentarily.

Five dead Riker bodies were laying on the floor. A mix of blood and debris was strewn all over, and dust, and gun residue, hung in the air. The hostages, now freed, were looking at him. Alan regarded their faces one by one and each showed different stages of horror, fear or bewilderment. They looked back at him, as if at any moment he might turn on them and kill them all. They were afraid of him.  Alan felt the weight of his own face now settle in from the stress and lack of sleep for three straight days. His cheeks hung low on his face and his eyes burned from exhaustion. He felt old, and perhaps he was old.

None of of the hostages spoke or even made an effort to get up. Alan's eyes finally met those of the woman in the brown sweater and she looked back at him with a neutral expression showing neither fear nor anger. Her face was worn and tired, but her eyes showed a pity behind them that immediately caught him.  Without a word she stood up to her feet and walked over to Alan and she wrapped her arms around him, embracing him and then pulling his head to her shoulder. Without warning the tears began to flow and Alan began to cry quietly onto her shoulder. He fought the tears at first, but the woman just pressed her hand on the back of his head harder and he finally let go and let it all come. He cried quietly on her shoulder, letting the horror and brutality of the past three days all come out. 

The moment was broken by the sound of the JTF securing the building downstairs. ISAC must have notified them that the building was secure and footsteps with soldiers and medical personnel were now coming up the stairwell. Alan collected himself and pulled his head back. He looked once more at the woman as she rested her hand on his cheek. The JTF team swept past Alan and made their way to the rest of the hostages still on the floor. A medical tech put her hands on the woman’s shoulders and pulled her away. Without saying a word, and without looking back, Alan turned and walked out of the building and back out onto the street. 

The snow was coming down hard now and Alan looked up at the overcast, grey sky. He put his finger to his ear, listened for a moment, and then disappeared into the falling snow.