“What’s the situation?” Sirvanna asked.
“A large company of enemy troops is marching this way. Almost all of them Golems or armoured units,” Rose said. “Bit of a sticky situation.”
“Every able-bodied soldier is ready to move,” Jenny said. She looked over at Sirvanna. “You should stay here.”
“I’m going,” Sirvanna said. “I can still fight with one arm.”
“But…” Jenny began.
Let her go. Naoko interrupted. The enemy appears to be trying to finish us in one stroke. If they succeed our cause will be lost. Our remaining troops, disorganised rabble. We don’t have the luxury of turning away anyone who can fight.
“Well, it was a pleasure serving with you ladies,” Rose said. “Just wanted to get that out there in case.”
The four stood in silence for a while when…
“I don’t believe it.”
We can win!
“Doctor Preston, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” General Anderson said.
“I can’t use any of my equipment because ‘Project Phoenix’ is underway,” she said. “I want to know what that is.”
“Zero, what is Project Phoenix?”
The operation currently underway.
“So I’ve heard. What are the details?”
Unable to clarify. Insufficient security clearance.
“Insufficient…?” General Anderson shook her head. “Is there something wrong with you? Not even the President has higher clearance than me. Tell me the details. That’s an order!”
Unable to comply.
“I said give me the details, you damn Plaguer!”
Unable to comply. System no longer recognising voice commands. And General, we prefer the term “Gifted.”
I can’t find Ryu. I think he’s taken off.
Naoko, Jenny, Sirvanna and Rose were marching towards the troop preparation area.
“Probably did as soon as the music started,” Jenny said. “No matter. Is everyone ready to go!”
A chorus of cheers broke out.
“Anastasia, you can’t come,” Jenny said. “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to see you killed.”
“I know,” Anastasia said. “It really sucks that I can’t see this through.”
“I’ll work twice as hard to do your part too,” Callie said, hugging her.
“Thank you,” Anastasia said. “but I’d rather you make sure to come back.”
“I suppose you’re staying behind too?” Ines asked.
“No,” Sirvanna replied. “I’m going.”
“I love your courage,” Ines said. “Not so much your recklessness.”
“I’ll be fine,” Sirvanna said. “I’ll have plenty of comrades looking out for me.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” Yuni said. “This is going to be a major historical event. I’m so happy that I get to share it with all of you!”
“Yuni…” Alena began. “That is to say… Something important…”
“If you have something to tell her, hurry up,” Alexa said. “We have to deploy.”
“It’s okay,” Yuni said. “You can tell me anything.”
Alena’s face was flushing. “After… After this is all over… If it’s okay by you…” Alena cleared her throat and reached into her pocket. “Will you… Won’t you…” Alena held up a diamond ring. “Marry me?”
“Yes!” Yuni cried. “Nothing would make me happier!” She slipped the ring into her pocket. “I wouldn’t want to lose it in the fight.” She kissed Alena.
“As sweet as this whole scene is,” Sirvanna said. “We have to be going.”
“Get those doors open!”
“We can’t. They’ve gone into lockdown mode and won’t accept the security codes.”
“Not working. Zero must’ve found some way to disable it.”
“Damn him! Cut through the doors! We have to make our way to Zero and put an end to him.”
They surged forward. The first thing they noticed were the armoured soldiers. They seemed to be stuck to the ground,trying to push their way up.
“It looks like their suits failed,” Ines said.
“Leave them!” Jenny shouted. “Concentrate on the Golems, but try not to kill any of them.”
Anya took to the air. Chunks of metal buried several enemy troops. Several fighter jets approached her only to tear themselves to pieces. A flying Golem was rapidly moving towards her back, only to be brought down by a fierce gust of wind.
“You really should watch your back,” Alexa said.
A bullet approaching her skull stopped in kid-air and dropped back to the sniper who had fired it.
“Watch yours,” Anya said. The two moved back to back and battled for air supremacy.
Sirvanna hurtled bolt after bolt into the enemy lines.
“There’s something strange,” Ines said, running to her side. “They aren’t moving normally. It’s like they’re half asleep.”
“And they’re going down remarkably easily,” Sirvanna said. “It’s got to be sabotage.”
A green-haired woman with scales covering her flesh started lunging towards them, stopped, turned around and fired a slimy green ball at the enemy units behind them.
“Thisss way,” she gestured. “Don’t worry. There are no more Golemsss.”
Sirvanna looked around. All over the battlefield the Golem units were turning against their former allies. A small number had simply dropped and were staring blankly as though awaiting further commands.
Ryu entered the facility carefully. There were steel barriers all over. The doors were forced shut and yet they opened for him. Only to close again. He made his way towards where Michael had been held the last time he’d been there. The barrier in front of it raised very slightly but lowered again. Ryu turned invisible and the barrier raised completely. There was a small squad of soldiers trying to cut through the door with acetylene torches. They stopped to stare at the raised barricade. Ryu silently approached behind the furthest of them, grabbed her pistol and promptly shot them all. The security door slid open and he went inside.
What are you doing here?
“My Lord, I came to see to your safety.”
I see. I’ve got most of them contained for the moment, but it won’t last for long. Listen carefully, I’ll explain how to extricate me from this device.
“All the enemy units here are neutralised,” Jenny said. “Let’s keep moving.”
“To victory,” Rose said.
There’s no need. The Alliance has surrendered. Ladies, we have our victory.
“It all seems too easy,” Sirvanna said.
“They made it that way,” Alena said. “Too much faith in the Golems and armour.”
“That’s right,” Christina said, walking over. “Still it’s pretty unbelievable. I wonder what’s next?”
“I know my future,” Alena said. “At least the important part.” She glanced over at Yuni. Who had slipped her ring on and was showing it off.
“I hate to admit it,” Alexa said. “But you were pretty amazing up there.”
“As were you,” Anya said. “I suppose I can’t call you weak anymore.”
The two smiled at each other. Eyes met, hands brushed, lips pressed together. It was nearly two minutes before they separated.
“Your quarters?” Anya asked.
“No,” Alexa said. “Yours are closer.” The two hurriedly flew back towards the base.
“Oh my,” Christina said.
“I guess they do get along,” Yuni said. “Thank goodness. I was worried that they were fighting.”