Ernest Young.

by adrian.dakota

I had never known what it had meant. Ever. — Ernest Young
The pneumatic doors hissed open, revealing the dark room beyond. No. Not here. Where was she then? It wasn't like Irene to disappear from the complex. Sure, she liked the open atmosphere, but Ernest knew that she wouldn't risk it.

Next room. He stepped quickly across the polished floor, hoping that when the doors opened, she would be inside. But this one — a storeroom — was also empty, the light off, the alarm humming softly in the empty air.

Clunk. Clunk. The sound of Ernest's heavy boots tramping across the battle-ridden ground echoed in the corridor. Ahead, it ended abruptly, covered by a small sheet of translucent plastic — reminders of the expansion still going on in this war complex. He hadn't actually attacked yet, but Lawrence was taking no precautions. Still, thought Ernest, it made finding Irene more difficult.

"Irene?" he spoke aloud, peering into the last room. Nope. Empty. She wasn't here.

He took a breath and stepped off the pressure pad, closing the door. It sighed shut, and he looked away, thinking… would Irene have actually dared to step out into the air?

A scuffling behind him caught his attention. Instinctively, he launched into battle mode. A voice behind the thin plastic. Ernest knew that there was just ground soil and earth behind it, barely supported by the artificial planks. If Ryder knew about it, he could get his army to tunnel in, and they'd have no defence. There were thousands of these openings, all planned for expansion.

Ernest fingered his dagger, ready for combat.

"No — no — Ichiro~!" a voice moaned behind the covers.

Ichiro? That was their commander, wasn't it? Without another word, he sliced open the blue plastic and let the drapes fall onto the floor.

Ernest, following the wide reputation of being an emotionless jerk, raised one eyebrow. In front of him, two of his teammates — Silvester and Ichiro — were lying on the floor, their shirts discarded, skin pressed together so closely it was difficult to see where one person began and the other ended. Ernest was unsurprised to see that Silvester was at the bottom, being pushed into the dark, packed earth, but it did surprise him that it was Ichiro who was roaming his head all around his body.

Just when he had absorbed all this information, the pair of them looked up.

"I'll leave you to it," said Ernest, turning away and thinking about where Irene might have to got to now.