This is the tenth time it's refused to do anything for him, and he's beginning to understand that there must have been a further failsafe built into the room. He looks down at what's left of Second, and regrets killing him that soon.
But only for the moment.
"Embrace him," he tells one of the Specials, pointing to the cooling, chest-bursted corpse on the floor.
"Becoming the dead is risky," that one reminds him: "It is also a short term solution at best."
"I will change the security protocols once I am inside," The Dragon says, and gestures to Second's body again. The Special nods, and begins to strip off its armor, piece by piece.
Eventually its methodical actions reveals a naked, sexless man with no face. Its' grinning skull is exposed behind a clear, plastic plate, with baleful, silver eyes.
The being kneels down beside the corpse and takes its head in its hands, putting its index fingers up to the body's temples. There's a moment where the two are lit up by a strange light, and then the light begins to pulse, and fluctuate between the false face and what's left of Second. Each time the light shines from the false face just a little bit more, and from Second just a little less.
Soon, the process is complete, and Second's body withers and dries up -- all its energy leeched from it. And when the false face stands back up again, his body shifts and changes, becoming Second from head to toe, just as he was before he was killed. The faceplate flickers and lights up, and then Second's face is projected in front of the skull, completing the disguise.
"All you need is love," The Dragon says.
"Love is all you need," the false Second replies, his voice now that of the dead man: "I can maintain this body for only an hour at best. After that, you will have to find another solution."
"Take us to the Island," the Dragon commands, sitting down in the chair and preparing himself for what comes next: "Then, open up the security protocols. We must ensure that we have more than an hour's worth of control."
As they speak, the body that was Embraced cracks and crumbles under its own weight of bone, becoming nothing more than a pile of wispy, pale dust on the floor.
Moments later, The Flier turns sharply to starboard, and jets away from Cuba, heading West as fast as its engines will take it. The people of the island might have cheered, if they weren't hiding for their lives after their airports and air bases were destroyed from on high.
Instead, they cry for deliverance, perhaps realizing that they just lost it.
* * *
"We're moving," Second says as he and New Man shoot their way down the passage from the Director's office, taking out entrenched Special after Special with their weapons: "How the !@#$ are we moving?"
"They must have overridden your safety protocols," New Man replies, ducking to the right just as a large group of the armored creatures appears, further down the hall, and starts firing back.
"That shouldn't be !@#$ing possible," Second shouts back, ducking and rolling to the left, taking out a couple of them as he goes.
"Says the man who just got killed."
"Time to call in the cavalry, then?"
"Yep," Second says, activating his communicator: "All Agents, this is Second. The Flier is under hostile control. All Agents, retake the Flier. Kill The Dragon and any Specials you see on sight-"
A flurry of white hot flechettes turns the bulkhead he's hiding behind into slag, and he crouches down and backs up a section.
"... I repeat, all Agents, retake The Flier," Second yells as he fires back: "The Specials are the enemy. Disregard all protocol concerning live capture. Just perforate the !@#$ers."
"I didn't get any of that over the communicator," New Man says, shooting at a close pair of the armored enemy before ducking back: "They've probably locked you out."
"Not from where I'm standing," New Man replies, tossing aside a spent pistol and grabbing a fresh one: "These things don't last long."
"They're still experimental. They don't have the proper batteries yet."
"Well, they leave a mark," New Man replies, shooting some more Specials.
"!@#$ straight. I wonder where we're going?"
"Northwest. Somewhere in the mid-Pacific, I think."
"How do you know that?"
"Earth's energy field," New Man says, winking: "I'm tied in, remember?"
"You know, I think we never did have that conversation," Second replies, tossing a spent pistol and grabbing two more: "How much damage can you do?"
"Get me a full charge and I'll take out half the Flier."
"How full are you?"
New Man sighs: "I'd be lucky to light a cigarette at this point. But I'll get it back soon enough."
"So what do we do in the meantime? Retake the secondary control room?"
"I'm game if you are."
Second grins, taking his almost-depleted pistol and giving the barrel a short, sharp turn to the left. It makes an obnoxious whining noise which gets higher and higher in pitch.
"Let me clear the way, first," he says, tossing the overheating weapon at the Specials they've been shooting at: "Might want to plug your ears. This is gonna be !@#$ing loud-"
* * *
It's a testament to Myron's anti-GORGON device that, when it goes off, there's no noise -- just the harsh click of the Heptagon's entire electrical system overloading when it does.
That and the Specials in his room falling down like toy soldiers a split second before they were going to "arrest" him.
He opens one eye, and then the other. Then he gives one of them a good, solid kick to the head, just to make sure it's not playing possum.
"Well, I see we've learned the importance of proper protocol," he says, grabbing a few key things from his desk -- most importantly an industrial-strength head lamp -- and heading out the blasted, still-smoking hole that used to be his office door.
"Okay, folks!" he shouts to any Agents nearby, most of whom are whalloping on the Specials now that they're down: "You heard me loud and clear a minute ago! Drop your !@#$s, grab your socks, and run like !@#$!'
"Who the !@#$ are you?" one Agent nearby says, bleeding badly from a shot to the arm and being supported by some other Agent Myron doesn't recognize.
"What, are you joking?" Myron asks, heading over to the two of them: "You don't know who I am?"
"Do I look like I'm !@#$ joking, !@#$hole?"
"Who are you?" Myron demands: "Did you just transfer in? Were you caught selling guns to cartels in Arizona? Is that why you're here?"
"You're Agent About-To-Bleed-Out, that's who you are," Myron shouts in the man's face, and then looks around: "How about the rest of you? Are you going to stand around like a bunch of stupid idiots, or are you going to get going before the thing I just made fails and these !@#$holes get up again?"
He doesn't have to tell them twice. At some point, someone smart decides to take over and make sure people don't stampede their way to the vehicle pool.
"Who the !@#$ are you?" the one holding up Agent About-To-Bleed-Out asks.
"I'm the one who just turned those GORGON mother!@#$ers off, Agent Helping-Agent-About-To-Bleed-Out," Myron shouts, getting in the man's face: "I'm the prison warden. I'm the man who brought down HONEYCOMB. I'm the man with the plan that's gonna save your !@#$ing life. I'm !@#$ing Underman, okay?"
"Okay..." the guy says, and starts walking towards the exit, supporting the suddenly-dumbstruck Agent About-To-Bleed-Out as he goes.
"Kids these days," Myron sighs, heading for the vehicle pool. He's got another plan going, but this one's a doozy.
* * *
"We are being fought, leader," one of the Specials tells The Dragon, just as they're finished crossing Mexico, and heading out into the Pacific Ocean.
"Who by?" The Dragon says, opening his eyes and clearly displeased to have had his meditations interrupted.
"Reports are uncertain, but it appears that New Man and Second are leading a group of Agents this direction."
That gets his attention: "That cannot be correct. New Man is disrupted and Second is... dead," he says, indicating the False Face who's become Second in order to fly The Flier (and isn't looking so good, right about now).
The Special unmasks and his face plate crackles into life, showing what another Special, several decks away, is seeing at this moment. It's the unmistakable sight of Second and New Man leading a suicide charge of Agents, all armed with small but powerful guns. As they fire, the Special who's broadcasting this scene is hit, and the signal abruptly ends.
"Well," The Dragon says: "This is clearly a mysterious turn of events. But..."
He thinks for a moment, and then smiles.
"Have a group of Specials search the medical bays. Tell them they're looking for specialized equipment not in the manifest. Tell them to alert me as soon as they find it, and secure it against attack."
"At once, leader. And what of the fighting?"
"Let's see if they truly understand strategy," he says, and begins to explain what will happen next.
None of it good.