Full Name: Richard ‘Rich’ Bale
Faction: Blood Watch, The Way
Sergeant Richard Bale died on an unrecorded mission, earing a burial place in Arlington as well as the star-spangled flag draping his coffin, his interment marked gun shots that rang in the sky and the tears of his beautiful wife.
A recognizable tale, if not for the fact that he already died once in the minds of the rest of his world.
Joining the secret Omega Occult team of the US Army equaled ‘death’. Families received notification that their serving died in an accident. Recruits then spent the rest of their lives on covert missions or deep in the force’s underground base with four teammates all similarly burnt out from living that zombie life as they were. Recruits died a silent death and nobody would shed a tear over the life they lost in the service of their country.
Today, Bale never talks about why he joined Omega Occult. It may be deduced that many of the events of his early childhood pushed him that way. He rarely speaks about his missions while serving unless the information is relevant to the latest supernatural threat that Blood Watch is combating.
But he will repeat the story of how he died the second time just to make the curious stop asking questions.
Neither Rich nor any of his Omega Occult team knew why they were sent to the lush jungles of Cambodia. It was pretty common for them to receive briefings right after they parachuted from their stealth transport. This time was different, and the shift in the pattern sent chills down Bale’s spine.
Their local guide handed them the envelope containing their orders: follow the guide; shoot the guide once at the destination; and recover the target from the lower levels of an abandoned temple. The executed each stage of their orders to the letter, quickly arriving at the temple.
Call-sign Tank Red, the unit’s weapons specialist, exchanged the muzzle on the gun after unloading a wall of firepower, while Bale deciphered the glyphs on the ruined walls of Beng Mealea temple, using his specialist training.
Ichiro died first as a huge chunk of the naga statue crushed his body, his blood draining into the cracks of the floor. This was the first true Omega Occult death in five years. The second and third happened almost simultaneously as the floor broke and two more fell down into the dark water below. A hiss echoed in the darkness and the water exploded with seven lashing reptilian heads of doom. Bale dodged at the last second, while Tank Red fired up his battle-suit rocket boots and flew for the surface through the cracked hole in the ceiling.
Rich was left alone facing the massive beast, a creature clearly far more intelligent than its form suggested. The behemoth whispered into his mind: Fight me? Rich knew then that this was an assignment beyond the usual good and evil, he knew that more than his life is at stake.
The reptilian heads struck at him again. Bale waited calmly and in the last moment grabbed one to ride it like a cowboy on a bucking bull. The beast tried to shake him off, trying to crush him against the wall but to no avail. Bale just waited as the six remaining heads hunted for the burdened seventh. He leapt from head to head, and watched them kill the next in turn until there was only one left.
Out of options, the last man standing of Omega Occult fired his entire clip into the gaping mouth of the dragon as the beasts flaming breath engulfed him. The fire felt good, cleansing, forging a bond between the ancient creature and its slayer. Rich fell into the water, his right arm burnt as the shrinking dragon snaked around it, leaving a mysterious tattoo and thus sealing the Dragon’s Pact.
It would all have seemed a bizarre and horrific nightmare if not for the fact that a small flame danced on Bale’s hand, guiding his way. The union with the dragon made him strong and powerful.
Six months later Richard Bale infiltrated the HQ of Omega Occult, a place he had called home. He was not here to pick up his stuff, as he headed straight for the commander’s office. No robot, no beast and no soldier could stand in the way of his dragon’s fury. Sgt. Bale burned his way through all resistance, the dragon on his arm seeming almost alive as it spewed flame on all his enemies and ignited their bullets.
The journey ended fast and Bale had only one question: Why?
They do not have to divulge details, but villains at gunpoint always talk and talk and talk. So Sgt. Richard Bale learned all he wanted and even more. Omega Occult’s top brass had decided that better a one man army with the ancient power of dragons than a team of five replaceable covert operatives. The dragon had to choose only one as its champion. A new occult contact, a woman of great power, promised that more soldiers would be able to fuse their bodies with ancient beasts, to promote US military interests. Bale could be the leader of a new hybrid Omega Occult.
A flaming bullet to the head of his ex-commander was a clear answer to this promotion opportunity.
The US military acted swiftly to cover up a very unfortunate chain of events, and so Sgt. Richard Bale had a second funeral, amid a newly concocted story about his death while defending American security.
Sgt. Bale and his dragon powers went on the run, and sought a refuge, as he knew he was too powerful and too dangerous to return to his twice-widowed wife. He was approached by many: government agents; power-hungry tyrants; the woman that claims she knows the spirit that slumbers in him. He rejected them all, accepting an offer from the mysterious V.H. and her Blood Watch Team, finding a home at last. They all accepted his grim presence because none of them doubted his loyalty and total dedication to a greater good. His journey later took him into alliance with The Way, the Dragon charting that path. Yet if Bale’s allies in both Factions only knew about Bale’s nightmares of a seven-headed dragon setting the world ablaze and bowing in front of a snake goddess…