This is a story of tensions: the tension that exists between contradictions. Jay’s is a story of fighting one’s duty to family with a desire to make his place in the world. His is a story of the battle between a desire for peace and falling into violence.
There are thematic undertones in his story as well. There is the formation and breaking of the bonds of brotherhood; of the real struggle of mental health problems, and all the ways in which silence harms everyone.
Jay is selfless in action but selfish in desire.
Jay is romantic but also rash; he is soulful but temperamental; he is dramatic but funny.
Jay is proud but self-deprecating.
Jay is brave in battle but a coward to the truth.
Jay will never lie to anyone but deceives himself constantly.
Jay fails catastrophically but will never give up.
Ultimately, his is a story of love. A love that smooths the edges of all these contradictions. It is a love hard won but a love that will endure forever.
Jay Aaron Carpenter
At 6’0” tall, Jay has a lean build consistent with strict military (and his own) PT standards. He’s quick to grin and usually cool headed and difficult to provoke unless touching upon the few things he holds dearest in this world, such as threatening those he feels he has a duty to protect, then he has a bit of a problem keeping his cool. Otherwise, he’s a red-blooded American country boy, with hay-colored hair and blue eyes.
- Inner bicep: Winged skull with crossed paddle and knife behind it in black/gray/white shading. There are three bullet holes in the forehead of the skull.
- Significance: Force recon 2/8 marines, remembering 3 fallen brothers.
- This tattoo was physically sliced off his arm by Placaso.
- Left shoulder blade: Black and white Eagle, globe and anchor (oldest, smallest tattoo)
- Significance: earned after completed basic training
- Right calf: a purple kitten, teeth bared, eyes red-slits, head turned to look out over its shoulder with claws dragging down red-filled, shredded skin from where it’s hanging on.
- Significance: represents legion company hellcats and the kitten that Jay found in Freetown
Home sweet home
Jay is from rural, northwest Iowa. He was raised on a cattle farm several hours from the nearest city, and attended a small town high school. He was popular with the girls, played short stop on the baseball team, competed in rodeo sports on his horse, Casey, was prom king, and had an on-again, off-again high school sweetheart named Anna Marie. He had a younger sister named Cayli.
His parents have always been farmers, having inherited the land from a great-great-grandfather who purchased it after immigrating to the USA following WWII.
He had a scholarship offer to attend college, but he let it lapse and never went.
“You know I was offered a math scholarship to college. I didn’t go, obviously, to great disappointment of my parents. My mom said I should be one of those hot-shots in a suit on Wall Street, running numbers and crunching stats, making a million dollars a year. God it sounded like purgatory to me.”– Duality
He was 19 and enjoying a piece of cherry pie on Thanksgiving when he had the realization that life was over before it ever began. He ended up in a recruiter’s office the next day when he enlisted in the Marine Corps without even discussing it with his family.
Get the hell out before it is too late
After completion of SOI (school of infantry), he reported to the 2d Battalion, 8th Marines. While with 2/8 he was part of a Force Recon battalion. From there, he applied for and was transferred into, special operations command, MARSOC. He jumped the gun a little early, applying as only a Corporal, an NCO, the minimum rank to be considered, but at 21 years old, exactly 24 months and three days after earning the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, he couldn’t wait another day.
Accordion National Archives and Records Administration
- United States Marine Corps
- United States Marines Corps Forces Special Operations Command
- Force Reconnaissance: 2d Battalion, 8th Marines (Raiders)
o South Africa
- United States Marines Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC)
Awards and Medals
- Silver Star – A silver star is the nation’s third highest personal combat award (behind the Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross). It is awarded “for gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the United States.” This award to a mere Corporal incited a high degree of controversy as it is much more often awarded to higher officers despite its rarity. For comparison, usually ~3 Silver Stars are awarded to Marine Corps members in a given year. They are earned only for heroic achievement under fire.
- Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal
- Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Certificate of Commendation for exceptional level of professionalism and expertise while participating in operation readiness exercise
- Military job specialty
- Military education
o School of Infantry
o Special Operations Training Course
o CSO Individual Training Course
- Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape
- Tactical Combat Critical Care
- Advanced Communications
- Fire support, small boat operations, demolitions, crew weapon
- Special Reconnaissance Skills
- Close quarters combat (CQB) tactics, techniques, demolitions, and urban combat
- Combat marksmanship
- Irregular warfare
- o Marine Special Operations School (MSOS)
o SCUBA Combatant Diver
o CQB Level II
o Helicopter Rope Suspension Training
Nicaragua and the Evil Nombre
A blacked out mission sent his team to a compound of a known cartel leader named Andres Amengual, moniker, Él Tiburón, the Shark. The mission report explicitly stated they were to dismantle the compound, kill any lieutenants or actionable respondents, but to take Andres alive. Intel said he was separated from his family, but to their surprise, they found him in the company of a little girl almost exactly the same age as Jay’s little sister. Andres used the girl that they later learned was his niece as a hostage and body shield. The commander issued direct orders to not harm their target, but Jay snapped. He fired a kill-shot against their mission orders and against direct verbal command, but if that wasn’t enough, he went to town on the man’s chest with a bayonet with a rage he later regretted. A week later he was cited for a minor breech back in North Carolina and discharged.
El Tiburón’s factories were destroyed, his compound raided, and the man himself killed. His lieutenants were scattered, but it was his brother that was quoted to seek revenge on those that murdered him in cold blood. Actually, all that sounded about right. The scarily wrong part was that the murderers were said to be rival cartels. That would have been Jay’s first guess, excepting, of course, that he’d been there.– Iowa, 2043
Two weeks ago, Jay was part of the Raiders. He was Special Forces in the United States Marine Corps. Two weeks ago he had a mission. He had purpose. He had brothers.
Today, he was a farmer again.
Discharged three days ago, it was a quick turnaround out of North Carolina, Camp Lejune was a memory. Combat boots were a memory. Uniforms were gone. Pins were gone. Patches were gone. Discharged, Other than Honorable wasn’t the kind of thing where a guy came home to trumpets and parades. He didn’t have awards and medals to hang on the wall. The picture on his mom’s mantle was three years outdated, of a newly graduated marine out of basic training. Hell, he was lucky to not be in jail.
Jay picked up the frame, held it in his hands a moment, then put it back facedown on the mantle. He couldn’t look at it anymore.– Iowa, 2043
The return home was bittersweet. He passed the time doing chores nobody needed and didn’t talk about the action that sent him packing.
As he laid there, he contemplated whether he wanted to dig out another bottle of tequila or not. He only had one left. The nearest gas station was thirty minutes away and forget about an actual liquor store. He’d stocked up when his plane landed in Des Moines three days ago. Hell, he sat a mile down the dirt road and drank the first bottle before even knocking on the front door. He could still remember the look on his mother’s face when the door opened and there Jay stood, bags slung over his shoulders, hat on, shades obscuring his eyes. The look on her face was enough to make him smile at the time. Of course, he couldn’t tell anyone why he was home. Later that night he admitted to his father that his Discharge was Other than Honorable, but he couldn’t explain why.– Iowa, 2043
Nonjudicial punishment (NJP) for disciplinary infarction while deployed. NJP appeal was denied.
Discharged, Other than Honorable
Report of Separation
- Place of entry into active duty
o MCRD San Diego, CA
- Place of release from active duty
o 3rd Marine Raider Regiment (3dMRB), Camp Lejune, North Carolina
- MARSOC Raiders are a Special Operations Force tasked by USSOCOM to conduct special operations
missions, some of which may be covert.
- The 1st and 2nd Battalions are designated DASR (Direct Action Special Reconnaissance), which are
essentially tasked with direct action, foreign internal defense, counter-terrorism, and special
reconnaissance. The 4th Battalion is a support battalion, not actually composed of Marine Raiders. 3rd battalion, however… everything they do is highly classified. The marines who are in the 3rd battalion are NEVER allowed to talk about what they do, who they work with, or where they go. All anyone not of that group knows it that they are a small group and some of the most elite fighters in the world. Their deployments are short (1-3 months) but frequent (2 or more per year)
- MARSOC Raiders are a Special Operations Force tasked by USSOCOM to conduct special operations
- Last duty assignment and rank
o Critical Skills Operator (CSO)
o Fox Company, 3dMRB
Home, not so sweet, home
Two months after coming home he had his first date. Or, rather, he actually encountered a girl he actually found attractive enough to date. They went out a few times, but after the untold number of dinners at the hot-dog joint, movies and beers, Jay didn’t call her any more. It had nothing to do with her. She was cute and funny. And he actually did like her. But he found himself thinking about dating her the rest of the year. Dating her until they’d become a couple. He’d blink and next thing he knew, he’d be wearing a wedding ring, carrying around an extra forty pounds and looking forward to pool and beers at the hot-dog joint. Not that there was anything wrong with that. But he felt himself slipping. He was slipping into the life that made him want to vomit. That made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. That made him want to run away as fast as humanly possible. The night he broke it off, he started googling for security companies abroad looking to hire. He had to get the hell out of Iowa. If he didn’t go soon, he’d be stuck there forever.– Iowa, 2043
Several months after returning home, he was offered a job in Legion Premiere, a private security based in Morocco. But not before realizing that his family’s finances were in the toilet. His dad long harbored a gambling problem, and it seemed that they had spent everything they owned and more. Jay’s paychecks from Legion Premiere were primarily sent home to keep his family afloat. The rest of the finances were funneled into extensive medical bills because he soon learned that Cayli had cancer.
Best time of his life, with kittens
In Freetown, Sierra Leone, he was assigned to a team hired to extract a VIP named Natalie Northbrook-Grey. Unfortunately, Sierra Leone was in heightened state of conflict at the time under a rebellion and Natalie was deep behind the line of action. It so happened that she had warned a young charge in her care to avoid the guys with guns, and Ekene took this quite literally. He attacked in Natalie’s defense and Jay took a knife to the back of his knee. Natalie subconsciously channeled as a result, and they were able to complete the extraction, but Jay was seriously injured.
Of course, Jay recovered from the field surgery in a Legion-hospital operated out of an embassy building. On route to the hospital he discovered a stray kitten loitering outside that he adopted and named Shredder. The medics even found some milk for him to feed the little guy. After a few days recovery, it was discovered that another Legionnaire named Jared Vanders could channel. More, his wizarding skills could heal and Jay was right as rain, making a miraculous recovery post-surgery, and he was promptly sent back into the action.
After killing the rebel leader, Interim President Wallace-Johnson, and rescuing their CEO, Jacques Danjou from captivity, Jay was with Natalie when she was thrown into the line of danger. Jay’s first experience channeling was to deflect an object from her path that was sure to have killed her. He had no idea that anything was wrong even when he took ill several days later. It was so minor he assumed it was exhaustion. Jared, of course, knew better.
You’re a wizard
When Danjou was summoned to Moscow, Jay and a few others were required to accompany him. Jared tried to help Jay understand how to channel, but the lessons never really worked. His second bout of channeling took place at a Methos concert he attended on the rare night off-duty, which was how he met Nox.
Nox was an experienced channeler, and he took a different approach than Jared in training. He basically kept throwing fireballs at him until Jay reacted on instinct. The exercise worked, and a few bottles of tequila later they had sex. Jay considers himself distinctly straight despite the fact that he will have sex with other men, so for his part, he thought of Nox as a friend first, and later, a brother. Their friendship continued afterward.
At one point while falling down drunk, he left Natalie an embarrassing voicemail. It was Alvis (Sören) who listened, however, and through him he discovered that Natalie was missing. Jay and Vanders both arrived at some underground club to follow her last known trail, and together, the three of them explored the tunnels. After having spent the night with Nox, he knew how to summon the power, and used it haphazardly to find her.
Warmth flooded his veins. Jay couldn’t stand still any longer. Jared urged caution, but he wielded the power like a weapon. It set his own veins aflame. The tunnel ahead wasn’t so dark anymore. Soren’s orbs remained, but they glowed like suns to his eyes. Jay was too focused on the flows to barely notice anything besides making sure they didn’t burn him to a crisp. This power was terrifying and beautiful at the same time. The sheer immensity of its strength was glorious, and yet, he knew that what flowed through him was less than what flowed through Jared. Less still than what flowed through Soren. He felt like he was bringing a knife to a gun fight.
This was the power, he realized.
A pillar of shadow waited ahead. A figure. A person. He readied the same wave to spin into its heart as he had that rat, but when he realized the figure was small, holding its own arms, his heart stopped and the weave failed.
He slid to her side, disbelief splitting his face. “It’s me. It’s me.”– A Night to Forget
When they emerged on the streets of the Red Light District they encountered a battle ongoing between a channeler and the Atharim. Jay was shocked and horrified to discover that the body on the ground belonged to Nox. The cops arrived in the company of a Domovoi detective whom Jay recognized from the night before, but things grew tense. Jay confessed to the murder at the concert they were blaming on Nox from the night before and voluntarily turned himself in to save his friend.
The officers exchanged looks. “Two confessions to the same murder? Fine, then Lieutenant. Have it your way.” He holstered the pistol and steel slapped on Jay’s wrists.– Spilled Drinks
He was transferred from police custody into the hands of the government, and found himself incarcerated in The Facility. He learned that he was given a choice, but one he couldn’t refuse, to train as a channeler for the CCD. Marcus DuBois was the first person to walk him through the mechanics of the Power until he was handed over to their doctors for study.
“You know, if you wanted to tie me down, all you have to do is ask,” he grinned and didn’t even try to ignore the fact that Dr. Weston was hot. She was probably totally crazy in an evil sociopath doctor working for the enemy sort of way, but helluva-attractive.
He took a deep breath and while the grin slid from his face, nervously laid himself back and offered limbs. The restraints weren’t biting like the handcuffs but they were snug. At least the padding was comfortable.– Rerouted
It was during testing that his power raged out of his control. Innocent people died, and in that moment, Jay sold his soul to the Ascendancy, begging to be taught.
Jay was no stranger to blood and death. He was no stranger to dropping men, and the occasional woman, with the pull of a trigger. When he saw the body with the glass standing erect from the chest, he pushed Marcus away and shuffled through the shards of glass. Probably would have been a better idea if he was wearing something more sturdy than hospital socks on his feet. But the sting of glass shards prickled his skin all over anyway. What were a few more?
He stood there over the dead technician. Workers were already clearing paths for safer walking. Dr. Weston was busy. Jay’s frown was mixed with a sick sort of guilt. This was his doing. Nothing was going to change. Whether he wanted to or not, this power was a part of him now. Resisting it was only going to get people killed. Better to die on the inside than to accidentally mangle innocent people.
He turned to Marcus, looking him dead in the eye. “I accept any teaching the Ascendancy wants me to have. Please help me control this.”– Rerouted
When Ascendancy came to inspect the damage, Jay swore his allegiance, and he was officially a Custody man.
Jay held that dreadful gaze unwaveringly when Ascendancy addressed him directly. He half wondered if he should kneel or bow or make the sign of the cross over his chest. At that moment, he was acutely aware of being half dressed and slashed up with red lines.
Ascendancy’s command cut to the core, though. Ghosts danced on the edges of his vision, and Jay’s jaw clenched tight. Fleeting defenses skipped across the edges of his thoughts like rocks on a pond. He wanted to tell Brandon that none of this was his doing. He wanted to say that people’s lives were being wasted. That the cost for what he wanted was too high.
Instead, none of these things passed his lips. His throat shut, dry, and he found himself saying words he did not imagine to ever hear his own voice utter. He was swept up into a storm over which he had no control.
“I am your man, Ascendancy. Teach me this control, and I will be your man to the end of my days.”
What was worse than saying it though–
He really meant it.– Rerouted
He was introduced at the Grand Ball as one of the Rods of Dominion, and for the first time, he was reunited with Natalie after months of being off grid. He met Jensen James at the ball as well and suddenly realized that a channeler who had the ability to heal was within reach. Jensen could help heal his sister’s cancer. He tried to book a flight home, but found he was red-listed. He asked Natalie for her grandfather’s help, and in her brilliance, she suggested they ask Evelyn Avalon to intervene instead. There was another in attendance at the ball, though.
He knew everything about this man. Everything. The day that Jay murdered his brother, Andres, he knew what the man ate for breakfast. Zacarías Secada Amengual was one of the most dangerous drug lords in the western hemisphere following his brother’s demise. There he was, dancing in the shadow of the Ascendancy. He wasn’t in Moscow to fight, though. Sharing the company of Ryker Petrovic, Zacarias was there to make a deal. It would be months before Jay learned the breadth of what was happening, but the cartel was there to make a deal with the Yakuza and Syndicate. Ryker was mediating the negotiations between all three groups.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” Carpenter staring him straight in the eye made fury rip the seams of his soul.
When the call bearing news of his brother’s execution arrived, Zacarias fell into a momentary stasis. To this day he could recall the paralysis that took over. Such shock as he’d never known in his life. Their mother and father lived long, healthy lives. He had every reason to suspect him and his brother to do likewise, despite the nature of their family’s empire.
Family was everything.
When they buried Andres, Zacarias laid a flower on his brother’s chest, leaned close to the casket and whispered the words of promise upon the veil hiding his face.
“I will find the one that did this to us. I will make him beg to be shot in the head. Rest, my brother. We will have revenge.”
When he looked the last time upon his elder sibling’s corpse, there was no room for doubt. The promise was signed in the blood of their family’s soul.
Tonight, of all places in the world to find an American special forces operator, the promise was coming to fruition.
He saw the wings of death hovering behind the eyes of Jay Carpenter. Whatever he had, whoever he loved, he would lose it all. Finally, when the pain of that loss could be born no longer, and Zacarias believed in his heart that his brother was avenged, he would put a bullet in Jay’s brain and ground the meat of his chest with a machete. And Andres would be at peace.– Zacarias, The Grand Ball
He knew how Zacarias would want to enact his revenge, and a few simple phone calls would place his mother, father and sister in the cartel lord’s path. By a twist of morbid luck, Cayli was in the emergency room at the local hospital. So if Zacarias sent assassins after his little sister, they’d find the house empty. He felt like he was racing two clocks now to get back: to save his sister before she expired naturally and before Zacarias found her first.
Home sweet home… again
Together with Natalie and Jensen, Jay raced home to deliver a healer to his sister, Cayli, whom he believed was dying of cancer. After racing across the globe, they found her in a hospital room burning up with fever and frail as a skeleton. When Jensen attempted to heal her, though, he discovered that there was nothing to heal.
Jensen smiled warmly as the gift came together. Healing, this magical miracle, flowed from on high. She was going to be healed. Cancer was the enemy to be purified. This young girl deserved life. Innocent and fragile. Jensen let the gift settle into her, but his eyes narrowed as they fell into far-distant study. Something wasn’t right. The gift was the same as always. It touched her body and mind as it did all those others that came before her. But something was wrong. It made him blink and capture Jay, their mother and father, with confusion.
“I don’t understand,” he began to say. The gift explored, seeking the answer, seeking it all. Then he realized he knew all along. The healing wouldn’t work because —
“There’s nothing to heal.”– Jensen, Saving Cayli
That was the moment that Jay realized his family, the doctors, and everyone was deluding themselves. Cayli never had cancer. She had the sickness. His 14 year old little sister was a channeler dying from uncontrolled usage of the Power. Natalie was there, though. She helped Cayli touch it safely and in doing so, saved her life. All should have been well after that, but they discovered Cayli’s doctor was in on the ruse. Manuel Diaz was not a regular country doctor, he was di inferi, sent by the CDC and tangled up in unregulated research of sickness victims. He knew exactly what was wrong with Cayli. She was safe from the Sickness now, but they were all in much worse danger. When Jay caught sight of one of Amengual’s cousins lurking around the hospital, he forced his family to go to a hotel to buy time to figure out what to do. Drama followed them to the casino, most of it self-imposed aside from the assassins. He spoke with Natalie’s father, Alistair, on the phone to ask for help figuring out Diaz’s identity and connection to the government, but only on the deal that he sever ties with Natalie and keep her from returning to Moscow. He reluctantly agreed and when he ran into his ex-girlfriend, Anna Marie, he knew how to make a clean cut. Problem was, he was so desperately in love with Natalie that he couldn’t go through with it. And as he usually did when he didn’t know what to do, he turned to Nox for comfort. They shared a few morbidly sarcastic messages to lighten the mood, one of which to show off his favorite stetson.
Nox, on the other hand, was a friend. A soldier. A brother. Someone who understood the life they led. One of violence and blood, of screams and panic. Of going out night after night seeking more of the same. Not because they were heroes. But because they were warriors.– Duality
They were chased by Amengual’s goons all the way to Dallas, where Jensen offered sanctuary at his wife’s house. Jessika was the governor of Texas and her home was basically a compound. Jay’s parents were thrilled to meet someone they idolized, but Dallas wasn’t the sanctuary they all thought.
Jessika Thrice, Governor of Texas, Jensen’s high-school sweetheart and the mother of his children, was a ray of sunshine in an apocalyptic world. With bright blonde hair teased high and bouncing wide curls on red-dressed shoulders, her bright lips parted and welcomes and love poured out. A southern hostess to her dying day, she would mother her guests as though they were her own spoiled children.– Jensen, Sanctuary
Once upon a time in Mexico
It went down hill after Jay ran into a former buddy from their days in special forces. Axel Miller was working as Jessika’s private security after leaving MARSOC, but more than that, he was in league with the Amengual cartel and being blackmailed by Jessika as well.
He grabbed the former soldier and the two clapped in a firm hug.
It was like clinging to a ghost of the past.
“Jesus Christ Hollywood, I thought you were two in the brain and buried in a ditch after Nica.”– Jay, Sanctuary
Axel arranged for Jay to meet with a contact that could tell him where to find Zacarias, but it was a setup to acquire the bounty on his head.
He didn’t blame Carp at the time. That motherfucker deserved it, and for Axel’s part, he made no move to stop it. Maybe he even gave Carp the machete to begin with. Axel always carried one. But to the Amenguals, Axel might as well have been the one to pull the trigger. He was there that night. They all had prices on their heads. Six months ago, passing through a hotel in Galveston while the Governor vacationed, a message arrived out of the blue. The next day, Axel sat in a shithole tiki bar and two options were presented to him. He took the latter. The marriage was collateral damage, but who the fuck cared, right?Axel, Sanctuary
Someone connected. Heat flared his jaw. Then a punch to the solar plexus flared fire up his back, but he wasn’t down yet. He tried again for a weapon. Wielding instead the arm of an attacker, throwing his weight into another. But a boot to the knee collapsed his weight with a pained yell. Not as bad as the kid in Freetown. No sick snaps or crunches. But the pain of it was enough of the opening needed. The ground caught his body. Weights threw themselves down. It took four men to keep him there.Jay, Sanctuary
He was taken to an abandoned school that had been purchased by Orion Pharmaceuticals and used as the site of illegal experimentations on channelers. The lead doctor, a woman named Opal Von Stein, kept him sedated with regular injections of some drug that prevented channeling while Amengual’s primary enforcer, a monstrous psychopath nicknamed Placaso, was assigned the simple task of inflicting pain. He was tortured for days in that basement until Amengual himself arrived on scene. Placaso liked to cut away tattoos of the men that he tortured in order to deliver the flayed skin art to his personal artist who replicated the image like trophies to his own hide. Placas is barrio slang for body tattoos that proclaim one’s affiliation or loyalty to a gang or cartel.The worst of it was electrocutions though, inflicted by a car battery and alligator clamps. Mixed with wet skin, the electricity left black vein lines across his skin.
The man on screen was nearly unrecognizable. A huge relief swelled his chest. “Great work, Mauricio. Keep him alive and cognizant, but tell Placaso to enjoy himself,” he said. The angle wasn’t the best, but he zoomed in on the chest, roaming the options that his primary enforcer, a man nicknamed Placaso, may or may not select for future body-art. He returned the tablet to Mauricio, “Show me a new picture every hour,” he said.– Zacarias, Pieces
The arrival of Natalie, Jensen, Axel and Cayli at the school incited a fire, chaos and alarms. Jay escaped only on happenstance but in doing so, he found Amengual’s daughter confronting Cayli, and to save his little sister’s life, he had to shoot the little girl that started this whole thing: the niece the Andres Amengual used as a body shield that night in Nicaragua.
As the girls collapsed, so too did Jay crumple like a sad sack of meat. He sat motionless against the wall, energy and focus extracted to nothing. The gun gripped tight in his palm performed its job well. The shot was true, he himself didn’t need to look up to know. Cayli would shrug off the dead girl and find her feet eventually. Jay just needed to sit and rest a minute. His limbs were lead. His feet iron. There was no moving. In fact, maybe a quick rest would be the trick. Cayli would nudge him as soon as she was up. All the blood would probably scare the shit out of her, but she was tough. She’d seen animals slaughtered. She knew blood; she’d be okay. Tough kid. Strange thing was that he didn’t remember laying down, but the floor felt great. His head was a bowling ball, and voices hovered like dreams. Just a little sleep would do wonders.– Saving Jay
He was practically dead when Natalie found him, but this time, she saved his life. When they attempted to get out of the building, Amengual found his daughter’s corpse and rained black hellfire on them all. During the gunfight, Cayli was shot and killed. In the aftermath, Jay burned down the entire building and gunned down everyone there, including the subjects of the illegal experiments.
Then he and Natalie drove to Mexico to hunt down Amengual once and for all.
They found the man’s home in the jungle, but in the ambush, Amengual revealed his master plan. Jessika had delivered Caroline and David Carpenter, Jay’s parents, to Amengual in exchange for his loyalty when she ruled a soon to be independent Texas. Jay was stabbed so he couldn’t channel in defense, when Placaso came out to taunt him, his parents were shot in front of him and he was helplessly bleeding out. Natalie was alone to defend them, but her powers were still new. She did what she could, but it was the sudden emergence of a new ally that swept the room of enemies.
Then Amengual’s foot connected a sickening crunch to Jay’s face, and the weave gutted loose. For a moment the power slipped entirely as recklessness closed the rest of the distance, skidding to her knees where he was still fighting to push to his feet, his eyes wild. She felt the heat of the blood seeping into her jeans. Her hands pressed over his against the gaping wound, and her eyes widened to a realisation she could not allow herself to think to conclusion. The power grasped and slipped until it finally bloomed. Her world shrank to the feel of his pulse under her hands, gushing out. It constricted her chest how little she could help. Yet neither of them were going to survive while Amengual lived, and their protection rested on her shoulders. Her gaze rose, the power burning under her nebulous control, and her teeth grit at the sense of her own panic. And realised the sense of the room had shifted. Her expression stilled as the search of her gaze found a familiar face. Someone else hovered shrouded behind his shoulder, but it was the severe features of Scion Marveet her pale eyes latched on to.– Natalie, Duality
Scion Marveet arrived clearly in command of all the mercenaries previously on Zacarias’ payroll. He arrived with Jensen in company to make sure Zacarias did not come out of this alive, return all of the Ascendancy’s human property back to the CCD, and negotiate a new deal with Jessika Thrice.
Scion’s attention drank in the circumstances of the room, but by the tilt of his jaw, he was prepared to encounter bloody fighting. A wave of the hand and the lead sergeant in charge of Amengual’s mercenaries punched a command in Spanish. The remaining men acknowledged the order, hurrying out the front door. Amengual yelled furiously, having narrowly escaped death by a half-dead man. When he realized his mercs were obeying Scion rather than him, he snarled, grabbed the rifle from the floor, fired aimlessly behind him and fled.– Scion Marveet, Duality
It was Natalie who pieced it all together.
She knew enough. Scion clearly cruised those stormy seas like an apex predator, and she had no doubt that he would see Jay back into Custody control where she had refused. But first he would use the weapon to clear his path to other prizes. By the time dawn broke, there would be one less contender for the crown. “You didn’t leave him anything to come back for.” Her gaze was ghostly pale.– Natalie, Duality
Following yet another healing from Jensen, Jay hunted his enemy down like a predator. When he killed Zacarias, it was slow and horrific. He took grim pleasure in the act that went beyond justice so his family could rest in peace. Afterward, ZARS agents extracted them everyone back to CCD lands.
Home is where she is
Back in Moscow, he holed himself up in new living arrangements and got himself as drunk as he possibly could. He spoke to nobody, refused to see anyone, and told nothing of what happened to a single soul. He didn’t even tell Nox anything was wrong until he was summoned to accompany Ascendancy on a mission to the undercity. Clearly bad shit had happened in the States, and meanwhile Nox’s arm was amputated, but neither of them shared the details of the backstory. Horror and suffering simply settled between them like an unspoken cloud that dissipated simply for the fact they shared the same space beneath its shadow.
Killing zombie rat things (and worse) in the undercity was just the thing he needed. To be a living weapon focused solely on a single action was how he existed now. When life and death left no room for anything else, he could forget. Even better was to share the oblivion with another soul as dark and tortured as his. Which was why it was so painful when Nox ended their friendship abruptly.
Jay squeezed their hands together. Their palms were sweaty, probably slicked with blood and cave mud and worse. “Yeah, I’m okay,” he replied with a grin. A laugh even followed. It was the most light-hearted he’d felt in months. “You did it, you son of a bitch,” he added, quickly followed by the kind of kiss that was long overdue.
Nox pulled the other man closer and kissed him a little harder, trying to express the raw emotion he felt before he broke the kiss. He didn’t push Jay away. The hairs breath between their lips could be breached without any further action.
“Jay.” he whispered on bated breath. “I really shouldn’t do this. I made a promise. If I break it. I have nothing left.”
“Promise to what? Not die? Don’t worry, I got you,” he said and pushed a hand under the waist of Nox’s pants with a knowing grin.-Jay and Nox, Going Deeper
Jay had no interest in understanding the meaning of the aforementioned promise. All he knew was that moment. Of being grateful to be alive after walking paths of darkness he thought inescapable. Of thinking he would never be grateful to be alive again. It was a tension of the last few weeks that made him seek connection to another human being. When the truth of it all came to light, the two confronted each other violently. Jay’s pain turned angry as if he was betrayed, but really it was anger at himself for being too stupid to see what was happening. And when an honest attempt at communicating finally came, Jay was buried too deep in his own denial to listen. He let Nox go because after losing his mom, dad, sister, and Axel, not to mention all the other blood on his hands, it was too painful to lose another person.
There was only one person left in the world he cared about, and the second she reached out, he dropped everything to be with her.
So many haunts. Their ghosts followed a gray line into the horizon. Freetown felt like a lifetime ago. Never mind the life he had before. Son, farmer, marine, legionnaire, dominion. He’d lived enough for five lifetimes, and in all of them, he was called back to this one moment. There was only one place the ghosts rested.
He loves Natalie so fiercely he can’t even acknowledge it. They are soulmates in every sense of the word. In each life they find each other, but in every life, it is a love fought to keep when everything would otherwise keep them apart.
Jay is no reborn god, unless you consider his own soul to be a god, which he probably does. But if he were around in the 5th or 6th Ages, he was nobody famous. Any life before that is long lost to the histories, but he was there, and he fought with all his heart for the Light, to his dying day.
3rd Age – Asha’man Jai Asad Kojima