There was once a boastful man. A brave man, even. His youth was one of defiance, a fist raised high towards the sky. He may have not been a historian, but he knew America before the Combine was the one he wanted. When he found likeminded people, he was on the right track towards that future. Some may have called him a crazy man. A lucky man, even. The fight against the alien oppressors and their human puppets was fought on many levels, and with many strategies. Each was always a risk, having the potential to cost lives many held dear. Not his life. He played the gamble of life or death, and the dice rolled in his favor. Every struggle paid off, every mistake a stepping stone. Even till the very end, it carried him over the fence of the White House. As he rushed the South Lawn, rounds whizzing by him, he'd never felt more alive.⚅ ⚂ Lou Brown The mine sprung from the ground, and the man spun around it. As it exploded behind him, he let out a hoarse laugh as the wind was knocked out of his lungs. ⚄ ⚄ Puppy Paws The laser swept across the blasted, dead field of grass. Bunching his legs, the man managed to leap over it - barely avoiding the sniper's dark energy round from pulverizing his knee. He landed in a roll, imperfect, but keeping his momentum. ⚃ ⚂ Skinny McKinney The man heard a rocket fly past him, its explosive payload making contact with the front of the balcony ahead. Chunks of white sandstone were sent flying, making him realize he'd gotten close. Surprisingly close, as he saw debris hurtling down right towards him. He leaped to his side, skidding along the ground. ⚂ ⚅ Brooklyn Forest Scrambling to get back up, the man gasped an inhale as he ducked for cover behind that piece of history cratered next to him. An explosion went off on the other side, crumbling much of the protective debris and making his ears ring. Catching his breath, he looked back up. He saw the swathes of resistance at the fenceline, some providing covering fire while others continued running, towards the goal behind him. ⚁ ⚄ Benny Blue Empowered by the sight, the man stood up and swept his weapon in an arc. In that instant, the transhuman sniper from before had fired. Its form mutilated by the rocket propped up its one good arm against its leg, squeezing the trigger. The dark energy round's supersonic travel ground against his helmet for a fraction of a second, producing a scorching ping that sent him back to the ground. There he lay for several seconds, staring at the smog-filled sky. ⚅ ⚄ Six Five, No Jive The man looked around, seeing his helmet a dozen feet away from him. It had been bored by the dark energy round and tossed off his head - leaving him unscathed, even if on the ground once more. Hefting himself up on his feet once more, the man continued his run. The two stairways had been destroyed, but people were climbing up to reach the elevated porch. Seeing the abandoned barricades ahead of him, he gritted his teeth and bounded onto the harsh metal, then made a grand leap. His form hugged the metal railing between the two frontmost pillars, taking a deep sigh. His relief didn't last long, however, as the doors swung open. A synthetic posthuman, its carapace shrugging off the rifle rounds peppering it from all around the porch. Its reinforced arm swung upwards, a curious mechanism buried where its hand may have laid, were it any more human. ⚀ ⚀ Snake Eyes Fire and pain and darkness swallowed the man's vision whole. . . . A man woke up from his slumber, raising up from the bed. How many years it had been since the liberation, he didn't know and didn't care to. All he'd ever seen since then was darkness. There wasn't much left of his eyes for the Vortigaunts to heal. He dabbed his towel in running tapwater, rubbing the wet cloth over his head. Naturally, no hair marked his scalp, leaving only sensitive, scarred tissue. He strode across the room again, retrieving his beanie from the nightstand. The fabric was soft and, at least according to everyone else, cream-white in its coloration. He put it over his head, then got his dark aviators on. More of a formality, so people knew who they were dealing with - even if the cane he picked up from his coat hanger wasn't enough of a clue. Nowadays, this man was known as Jonah Weaver. He'd abandoned his old name, leaving it among those that had fallen during the Battle of Washington, D.C. Now, his most renown was "knowing if there was a Bullsquid taking a piss within a mile's distance," or so the drunkards liked to say in the pub. Oh, did a man hear many things. Silence is golden, but speech is silver. A fine place to settle down, from the sounds of things. No "government officials" to try and wrap him up into a war veteran program, no "Union conformists" getting the noose for being physically unfit. Just us, we the people. Jonah was but a blind man to people. A humble man, even.