Foolish, there was no way around it. Going into hostile territory alone with no hope of backup when a spy had let you in the first time. Indicating that they could probably detect the new stealth technology and had just let them in… No, it wasn’t just foolish. It was quite possibly the dumbest thing she’d ever done. Still, she had no regrets.
“I can’t let her go,” Sirvanna muttered. She flew in low. Maybe she could get in under the radar. There was no sign of an attack, yet. Were they still trying to take her alive? She shrugged, their error.
She landed the plane near the base, set the destruct sequence and ran. Even before it blew several guards came out to investigate. Unfortunately for them. They were caught in the blast. A group of soldiers swarmed out. Sirvanna waited until they were dispersed, some trying to find some survivors and some trying to put out the fire caused by the explosion. She grabbed the first soldier she caught near her and pulled him into the bushes. One arm locking him into place and the other over his mouth.
“Where is the woman you captured?” She whispered. “If you don’t tell me or you try calling for help you’re going to learn what it’s like for your brains to fry when a bolt of lightning enters your ear canal.” She moved the hand from his mouth.
“If… if… if I… tell you, you’ll kill me anyway,” he stuttered.
“Yes,” Sirvanna said. “Yes I will.”She pulled his face up so they were making eye contact. “The question is how painfully you want to die. I can make this quick and painless, or I can send every nerve in your body into torment simultaneously. Choose, now!”
“Fifty metres northwest is a smaller complex.” He said, after a long pause. She was taken there.”
“Good boy,” Sirvanna said. She hastily snapped his neck.
It wasn’t a small building. Smaller than the other, maybe a little. Sirvanna couldn’t really tell. Big or small, she had to find Ines quickly and then the two of them could use her speed to get out of hostile territory, assuming she hadn’t been hurt. Sirvanna approached the gate.
“Halt, where’s your authorisation?” Sirvanna’s hands flashed. The gate tore apart and the guards around it dropped. She stepped into the facility.
Immediately inside the building were several doors. One of which had a computer lock. Sirvanna blew it open and tentatively stuck her head inside. There was no one inside. Just several shelves of weapons and some crates. Sirvanna took a carrying bag and filled it with timed explosives. She set the timer on one of them and left it in the room, buried underneath some crates of ammunition.
She turned to leave. “Fire!” she ducked back into the munitions room as a hail of bullets hit the doorway where she had been standing.
She waited, pressed against the wall by the doorway. She hated to delay, especially given her limited time, but there was no choice. They would have to come inside to get her and when they did…
They rushed in in a group. Seven of them. They held blades at the ready. Obviously not wanting to risk hitting the ammunition or explosives.
She blasted two of them before they could get their bearings and grabbed their weapons as they fell. One she hurled immediately, embedding it into the forehead of a third. She sent a bolt of lightning into the second weapon as she used it to block the blades coming down on her. Two more dropped as the voltage moved into their blades and straight into them.
She decapitated the sixth with a quick swing. She hurled a small bolt at the final one, forcing her to drop her weapon. She grabbed the woman by the throat and held the blade to her forehead. “Where is the prisoner?”
“Second door on the left. First door to the right from there leads to the holding cells,” the woman said. “But you can’t get to her. We’ve got better gifted than you standing guard.”
“We’ll see,” Sirvanna said. She punched the woman out and moved on.
It didn’t take her long to find the place. Even with a few quick stops to plant more explosives. Resistance proved to be minimal. They were really betting on the plaguers to keep the prisoners in place. Lucky for them. They’d suffer fewer casualties that way.
She tentatively peeked into the holding cell area. Two of Theta Squad’s members were there. The older woman and the primary schooler.
The floor shook violently beneath her. Sending her sprawling into the room.
“Look what we have here,” the older woman said.
“Sneaking around is no good,” the girl said. “We have to punish her, right?”
“She can wait for Mr. Wagner with her friend,” the older woman said. “You’d better come peacefully, Lambie. We wouldn’t want you hurt.” She moved carefully towards Sirvanna. Sirvanna didn’t make a move until they were right next to each other. Then she threw a bolt of lightning into her face.
“I can’t afford to wait,” Sirvanna said. The primary schooler ran up and slammed her fist into Sirvanna’s stomach, sending her sprawling.
“That was a dumb thing to do,” she said. Sirvanna backed away from the girl. Her strength would be a problem. She hurled several bolts at her, but the kid just shrugged them off. “See that!” the girl cried. “You don’t have enough power to stop me.”
Sirvanna ran further back. She might be able to take the kid when she was energised, but she’d used a lot of power already. Power… She looked around as she backed away.
“Stop running!” the girl cried. “I’ll try not to hurt you too bad.”
Sirvanna slammed her sword against the wall and held on. “Got you!” the kid shouted, leaping towards Sirvanna
“No, I’ve got you,” Sirvanna said, sparks falling from her eyes. Power. It surged from the outlet, to the blade and into Sirvanna and she channeled it into the strongest bolt she’d ever fired. It surged upwards into the child, sending her through the ceiling.
Sirvanna let go of the blade and staggered forward. “You’re monstrous, you know that?” She turned around and found herself facing Rose. “You could’ve killed that child,” Rose said.
“I don’t care,” Sirvanna said. She hurled a bolt of lightning at Rose. Who shrugged and fired an energy blast at her. Sirvanna leapt backward, but the blast caught the ground beneath her. Sending shrapnel flying at her.
That was right. Ines had pointed it out to her last time they’d fought Theta. Rose fed off of her energy, somehow. Sirvanna picked up a piece of shrapnel and hurled it at Rose, who hurriedly ducked beneath it.
“It only works for energy,” Sirvanna muttered.
“What are you babbling about?” Rose asked.
“Just figuring something out,” Sirvanna said. She rushed at Rose. Rose hurriedly took up a defensive posture. Sirvanna’s fist went into Rose’s gut. Simultaneously, her leg spun around, catching Rose in the face. The leader of Theta went down.
Sirvanna stumbled towards the cells, breathing heavily. She found the one she was looking for right away.
“There’s a face I never thought I’d see again,” Ines said. “Do you wanna sit down? You really don’t look so good.”
“I’m fine,” Sirvanna said. She blew the cell’s lock open and nearly collapsed into Ines’s arms.
“Just take a breather,” Ines said. “We should be safe enough for a couple minutes.”
“No time,” Sirvanna said. “This place is gonna blow in about thirty seconds.”
Ines scooped her up and ran. “Cutting it close, aren’t we?” She asked. Neither one noticed that Rose and the others were gone when they ran through that area.
“I knew you’d get us out in time,” Sirvanna said.
The explosives started going off. “Not gonna look back?” Ines asked.
“You aren’t looking at it either,” Sirvanna said.
“I can’t,” Ines said. “If I trip and fall we’ll both die. You’re just not looking at the explosion to act cool.”
Ines managed to outrun the explosion with Sirvanna in her arms. “Where’s the jet?” Ines asked.
“Scrap,” Sirvanna said. “We’ll have to find another method.”
“The others?” Ines asked.
“Not here,” Sirvanna answered.
“I’m surprised they had you come by yourself,” Ines said. “Seems kind of tactically unsound.”
“They didn’t,” Sirvanna said. “I disobeyed orders.”
Ines whistled. “That’s a new one for you, and all for someone you don’t even like.”
“About that,” Sirvanna said, moving some strands of hair out of her face. “There’s something… something…”
“Something you want to tell me?” Ines asked.
Sirvanna nodded. She clenched her fist. “I won’t lie to myself anymore,” she said. She reached her arms around Ines’s neck and kissed her. “If anyone asks, you kissed me.” She said.
“Understood,” Ines said. She took off again, Sirvanna still in her arms. “But you don’t get to deny liking it,” Ines added.
“Fair enough,” Sirvanna said. “Now we just…” Her body slumped in Ines’ arms.
She was sore everywhere, that was the first thing she felt. How long had she been out? She tried to piece everything together in her mind. She’d beat up most of Theta, rescued Ines, blown up a building… had there been anything else? She opened her eyes, drowsily.
“Morning,” Ines said. “We’re almost back home.”
Sirvanna sat up and looked around. They were in a jet of some kind. That was when she remembered.
“Sorry,” Sirvanna said.
“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Ines said. “You broke me out. The least I could do was secure transportation back. Besides,” she looked back at Sirvanna “you looked so cute sleeping.”
“I shouldn’t have kissed you,” Sirvanna said.
“Huh?” Ines asked.
“It was way out of line,” Sirvanna said. “As team leader I should…”
“Hold on a moment,” Ines said. “Let me see if I’ve got this. You’re seriously worried that you may have abused your authority to take advantage of me?”
Sirvanna blushed. “Well I…”
Ines laughed out loud. “You take yourself way too seriously,” she said. “Besides, if I hadn’t wanted you to kiss me I would’ve moved out of the way. It’s not like I didn’t have time to see what you were doing.” Ines appeared directly in front of Sirvanna.
“The ship…” Sirvanna began.
“On Auto-pilot,” Ines said. “Now, listen. We’re both consenting adults. There’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be able to have a relationship. You haven’t abused your authority or in any way taken advantage of me. Now, can I kiss you?”
Sirvanna studied Ines’s face for a moment. Taking a few seconds to look over at her lips. She swallowed nervously. “Go ahead.”
“You fools!” Wraith cried. “My Lord was going to speak with that girl and you let her escape before he even returned. How could you fail him like this?”
“I’m sorry,” Rose said. “We just…” The young girl broke away from the group and ran for the doorway.
“You’re incompetent,” Wraith said. “I would have never…”
“Enough, Wraith,” Michael said. He was carrying the girl piggyback.
“My Lord,” Wrath said, kneeling. “Forgive me I was just berating these unworthy ones on your behalf.”
“I understand your feelings,” Michael said. “And it is indeed unfortunate that Omicron managed to return home before I could speak with them. However, that is not an acceptable reason to be disrespectful. I’m certain that Rose, Daisy, Elizabeth, Mary and Blair did their very best.”
“Yeah!” the Primary schooler cried, leaning forward so that her stomach was leaning against the top of Michael’s head.
“My apologies, Lord,” Wraith said. “You are correct, as always.”
“Don’t apologise to me,” Michael said. “Apologise to them.”
Wraith turned back to Rose, looked tentatively over at Michael, and bowed. “My apologies.”
“Think nothing of it,” Rose said.
“I think I’ve gotten most of the details about what happened,” Michael said. “However, I would like to hear it directly from you.”
“Of course,” Rose said. “Lisa led Omicron to us. We tried to reason with them, but they insisted on fighting us. You know how Americans are. I gave the order to not hurt them any more than necessary. Most of them escaped us. We did manage to catch their speedster though. We put her in the detaining facility.”
“Which was attacked by her comrades?” Michael asked.
“One of them, Sir,” Rose said. “Their leader returned. She left explosives everywhere. We didn’t have time to disarm them. Mary was barely able to get Blair, Elizabeth and myself out. Daisy was taking a rest back here at the time.
The athletic teleporter stepped forward. “I couldn’t save anyone else, I’m sorry.”
Michael shook his head, gently. “No, it’s perfectly alright. I’m just glad you’re all safe.”
“Blair,” Rose said. “Stop playing with Mr. Wagner’s hair.”
Michael laughed. “Don’t worry about it. It’s only hair, after all.”
“How is Chelsea, Sir?” Rose asked.
“Settled,” Michael said. “I can give you some time off to see her if you’d like.”
“No, it’s okay,” Rose said. “I’m just glad she’s away from the fighting.”
“You’re quite certain that you told them nothing?” Trask asked.
“They didn’t ask me anything,” Ines said. “They kept saying that their leader would explain everything to me when he got back.”
“It’s lucky that Miss Bowman rescued you, Trask said. “Before they brainwashed you. For the time being, get some rest and report to the briefing room with the others in the morning.”
Ines waved and headed out. Sirvanna was waiting by the door.
“Did it go okay?” Sirvanna asked.
“I suppose,” Ines answered. “You aren’t in trouble?”
Sirvanna shook her head. “Trask is claiming I acted under orders for a very successful covert mission. He couldn’t punish me and take the credit.”
“Ines, Sirvanna!” Yuni ran forward, hugging the two of them. “I’m so glad you’re both okay.”
“Yuni’s happy,” Alena muttered. She was standing several feet away, leaning against the wall. “Thank goodness.”
“You’ve got guts, Boss,” Alexa said, patting Sirvanna’s back. “Better than I expected.”
“Sure, let’s all hold a reunion party in the corridor,” Katelyn said. “I bet we can totally fit a full buffet out here. Come on, let’s head out to the town!”
“Yay, Party!” Yuni said. Katelyn and Alexa led Ines and Sirvanna away. Yuni started to follow, but held back. “Let’s go,” she said, holding her hand out to Alena.
“But…” Alena began.
“That’s no good,” Yuni said. “This is a time for the team to celebrate,” she grabbed Alena’s hand “all of us. Okay?”
Alena looked down at their hands and gave a very slight nod.
“Come on, eat up!” Katelyn said. “Aren’t you hungry?”
“They fed me pretty well, actually,” Ines said. “Their teleporter sent the food directly into my cell so I couldn’t escape. They gave me salmon with fries, sushi, some type of noodle dish, lobster, fettuccine, chili dogs, mutton, bratwurst and..”
“Hold up,” Katelyn said. “You weren’t even a prisoner for half a day. Were they just trying to fatten you up to make your powers useless? I’m surprised you could even eat all of that.”
“Can’t be helped,” Ines shrugged. “My metabolism works in overdrive. Just like everything else about me.”
“Hey,” Yuni said. “What was it like when Sirvanna came? Did all the bad guys rush her after she made a speech about justice?”
“Someone’s been watching too many cartoons,” Katelyn said.
“It was really cool,” Ines said. “There I was in my cell, trying to think up an escape plan. When I heard sounds of struggle and faint voices. It all faded and all I heard were footsteps coming closer and closer. That’s when I saw her, hair sticking straight up, cuts and burns everywhere, torn clothes. She blew my door open and almost collapsed. But I caught her. She told me we had thirty seconds to get out of there. I had to move fast. Luckily, that’s what I do best. I outran the explosion and got us both out of there. That’s when I kissed my hero.”
“And suddenly this became a different story completely,” Katelyn said.
“Aahh,” Yuni squealed. “That’s so sweet. You totally have to recreate it for us!”
“You did not,” Sirvanna said. “I kissed you.”
Katelyn, Yuni and Alexa all turned to look at Sirvanna.
“I did not expect that,” Alexa said.
“I still wanna see a reenactment,” Yuni said.
“Bow-chicka wow-wow,” Katelyn said.
“I thought we were telling them that I kissed you,” Ines said.
“I changed my mind,” Sirvanna said.
Michael put the finishing touches on some plans and looked over the status reports. It was going well… almost too well. Why were they being so quiet?
He looked up as his door creaked open.
“Shouldn’t you be in bed?” he asked.
“I had a nightmare,” Blair said. “A big monster grabbed you and I couldn’t stop it.”
“If there truly was such a thing as a monster than I am quite confident in your ability to protect me,” Michael said.
“I know that,” Blair said. “But it isn’t easy to remember when I’m asleep.”
“I see,” Michael said. “Well, now that you’ve reassured yourself, please return to bed.”
“Kay,” Blair said. She paused on her way out. “Would you… never mind.”
“Go ahead,” Michael said. “If you have something to say you should do it clearly.”
“Sing me a lullaby?” Blair asked.
“If you’d like,” Michael said.
He walked with Blair to her room.
“Let me think,” he muttered. “How did it go? Ahh, I remember.” He cleared his throat and began “Guten abend, gute Nacht, mit Rosen bedacht, mit Näglein besteckt,…”
“It’s a simple mission,” Trask said. “I want you to go behind enemy lines and break into a research facility, steal some of their data and destroy the facility itself.”
“Because nothing screams simplicity like going into a hostile area and breaking shit,” Katelyn said.
“If you have objections, Pixie, you’re welcome to retire,” Trask said. “I’m sure the facility still has your cell available.”
“Whoever said anything about objections?” Katelyn asked.
“Good,” You leave tonight,” Trask said.
“Talk about a hostile work environment,” Katelyn muttered, the instant they’d left the briefing room.
“We’ll be fine,” Ines said. “They’re too slow to keep up with us.”
“They’ve caught you before,” Alexa said.
“Only because I had to distract five of them,” Ines said. “And even then it only happened cause they were plaguers.”
“Do you think we’ll be okay?” Yuni asked.
Alena put a hand on her shoulder and nodded. “I’ll protect you,” she whispered.
“There’s nothing to worry about,” Sirvanna said. “Last time they knew we were coming and they had the advantage. This time we have the element of surprise.”
“Trojan?” Michael asked.
The monitor shined and she emerged.
“This is a surprise,” she said, bowing demurely.
“You’ve been working nonstop for quite a while,” he said. “Is something wrong?”
“Yes!” She cried. “See, there’s this heavily encrypted project I can’t gain any kind of access to. I think the enemy is up to something big.” She looked at the screen and shook her head sadly. “I’ve been trying to find a backdoor for hours without luck.”
“Take a break for the moment,” Michael said. “Get some sleep and try again when you’re fresh. In the meantime, I’ll see what I can find.”
“Understood,” Trojan said. “I could probably get into it from one of their secure computers. If you’d like me to go behind their lines again.”
“Too risky,” Michael said. “Now that they know about your abilities you’d surely be caught. We’ll get in from here.”
Trojan gave him a slight curtsy and walked away.
“Project Golem…” he muttered. “I don’t like the sound of that.”