Authors note: I do not own Maximum Ride, Jeb or the Erasers, I do not own The School either, these are all the work of the brillian mind of James Patterson, too bad I'm not him, but everything else is my own work and if the places and people represent others in real life or from other stories, it is by coincedence. If anyone wishes to copy this story, please let me know first. Thank you and Enjoy
Hidden Shadows: Truth Revealed
Dr Reilly sat in his gloomy office watching the video recordings of experiment Alpha's latest escape attempt. He looked up from the screen as the door to his office opened and a woman with golden brown hair and emerald green eyes walked in.
"Excuse the interruption Dr Reilly," the woman apologized, "Lucas has just informed me that he has located Alpha and will have him brought in shortly."
"Perfect," Reilly answered, "Inform Lucas that there has been a change of plans. Let him know that instead of returning Alpha here, we will be sending him to 'training'."
"I understand." The secretary said, "I'll let him know." She walked out of the room and Dr Reilly watched her go.
He pondered over the new changes Alpha had forced him to make to his plan because of the attempted escape. Because of him, Reilly had to speed the operation up. Soon very soon the world will find out about what he had been doing, and he would have to be prepared for what is to come. They would not act kindly to the experiments he had been doing, and because other escapee's the world had brought in new laws about human experimentation.
Yes, He would be facing severe consequences if this was to get out before his plan was ready. He was going to change the world, whether they were ready for it or not.
I was running through the trees, a sea of green surrounding me. The moon was shining down through the canopy of leaves giving faint light on the forest floor. They were chasing me, willing to do anything to get me back, preferably alive, but dead would do. I ducked and weaved through the trees and branches, careful not to make too much noise. They had extremely good hearing, hearing that is as good as a wolfs.
I heard a howl behind me and began to run faster. Come on, I thought, I need a clearing, a cliff, anything. I heard a gun shot and wood above my head splintered. Damn, I thought, they're catching up. Just then a clearing appeared in front of me. There is a god, I thought. I ran into the clearing and unfurled my wings. I kept running and began to flap them. Suddenly I was airborne. My tan brown wings were beating at the air; wind was blowing in my face, pushing my dirty blond hair back out of my face. This is amazing, I thought, all my life I have wanted to do this, now I can. I was flying over a stream winding its way through the woods. I could see the teams searching for me.
Just then I heard the beat of helicopter blades on the air. I looked to my right and saw it heading in my direction, a spotlight searching the woods. The pilot must have seen me, because the spotlight suddenly swung in my direction and the helicopter gained height until it was flying just above me. I flash of light came from the side of the door, followed by the crack of a gunshot. I heard a whizzing sound as the bullet passed by, inches from my wingtip. Damn, I thought, their trying to shoot me down. I dived down towards the trees, hoping to find cover from the sniper in the helicopter.
More gunshot came from the helicopter, followed by gunshots from the ground team. I felt a searing pain as a bullet penetrated my shoulder. I lost concentration and my wings began to falter. I crashed into the canopy of the forest and plummeted down towards the ground. I saw a branch and hooked it with my good arm wrenching my good shoulder from the force. I slipped and lost my grasp on the branch to fall the last three meters to the ground. I got up off the ground and began to run. I tried to flap my wings but my shoulder wouldn't allow me to. The pain was breaking my concentration, stopping me from getting a rhythm. I heard a branch snap and spun around to look at the person hunting me.
"Hello Alpha," the Eraser said, "It's time for you to come home." With that he shot me with a tranquilizer. The world began to swim and I collapsed to my knees. The world went black.
Journal entry 1: My name is Blaze. I'm sixteen years old and have grown up in a lab all my life. I was born on the 12th may 2004. As you have guessed, I'm different. You see I was born part human, part bird. I look like a human, have emotions, eat, drink and breathe like a human. But I can never be human. Apart from the wings, I also have hawk like vision and am stronger and faster than a normal human. These are all side-effects of the bird DNA, all side-effects of the white coats experiments.
And yes I said wings. You read that right.
My life has been nothing but a nightmare. My everyday schedule was to have breakfast, testing, school, experimenting and more experimenting. Everyday I got up exhausted and went to bed even more exhausted.
There are other experiments like me, all part bird part human. We were kept separate, never seeing each other, never given a chance to bond with each other.
I was the only one who began to realize the others were beginning to disappear. My sister and I were the only one's who were kept in the same room, because we were family. Her name was Flame. She disappeared three years ago. I never saw her again, but I believe she is still alive. I can still sense her. We always had a telepathic bond.
When the others and I turned ten strange things began to happen. Unnatural abilities started to show up. Many of the others never got powers. They were some of the few who disappeared. Flame and I were different from others. We couldn't explain why. Both of us had two different abilities. I had found out I had powers of the mind, including telepathy and Telekinesis. My other ability, which only Flame knows about, is the ability to summon spirits of the elements and fuse with them. Flame had two abilities as well. The first of which I found interesting, she could control spirits, but could not fuse with them. The second ability they found out about was her unnatural ability to link her mind into cyber space. She could control technology with her mind…
I stopped writing and hid my journal in my cargo pants pocket. It was one of the only things they hadn't found or taken off me. It was Flames, I was writing our story in it. Three people walked in through the door. Two of them stepped to the side and stood guarding the door. The third walked up to my cage and peered in. He was a white coat.
"Hello Alpha," the white coat said, "My name is Dr Reilly. Welcome to your new home…"
"My new home?" I asked, confused. I figured something was different, but I thought they had taken me to another part of 'Eden.' A part I hadn't seen before.
I looked around the small room I was in and sure enough things were different. The lights were harsher, brighter than Eden's and the walls were a khaki green color. I sure wouldn't have chosen that color. Sounds were muffled by the walls, as if they had to travel through a dense substance to reach me. I leant back against the damp cold wall. Damp! How could that be unless…
"How deep are we underground?" I asked, things starting to suddenly fall into place.
"My, my, you do catch on quick Alpha," Dr Reilly exclaimed, "Quicker than others before you."
"My name is Blaze, not Alpha," I retorted, "Wait, there are others here?"
A brief flicker of annoyance crossed Dr Reilly's face, and then was replaced by his normal mask of a face. "Then I shall call you by that name." He agreed, ignoring the second question.
"Why?" I asked
"Why what?" Reilly replied
"Why would you call me by the name I chose," I asked, "than by the name you gave me? Why would you when no-one else has? What do you want?"
Reilly heaved a sigh and then continued, "I can see there is no fooling you. I shall tell you why you are here. As I mentioned before, there are others here, others just like you Blaze. They are all part of the same experiment you were part of, and they all have tried to escape from the installation they were bought up in."
"Then why haven't you 'put us to sleep?'" I interrupted.
"You have not been put to sleep because you and the others are very valuable to us, to me." Dr Reilly continued, "I have requested you to be transferred here… so that I can train you."
"Train me," I asked, "for what?"
"You will find out in time." Reilly replied, not answering my question.
Great, I thought, again they are keeping the truth from me. When will all the lies stop?
"Blaze, if you would look down at your wrist, you will find a small metallic band around it," Reilly continued, "That is to keep you and the other experiments under control. At the press of a button, it will inject you with a tranquilizer that will put you to sleep for a minimum of twenty-four hours. Enough time for our guards to find you. This is to ensure you behave and don't try to escape. They also have a GPS tracker on them making it easy to find you. Do not deliberately fail on your training. That will only result in punishment for you and the others, and I know how you hate to see others suffer for what you've done."
"How do you know so much about me?" I asked, thinking back five years to a day I wish I could forget, a day that still haunts me in my sleep.
"You forget," He answered, "It's my job to know you."
Freaky, I thought, this guy is a bit nutty.
Dr Reilly stood up and spoke to the guards. The two guards on either side of the door moved up to the cage I was kept in. They unlocked the door and opened it for me.
"What is going on Dr Reilly?" I asked
"Were taking you to your room," He answered, "I don't think you want to stay in a cage all the time do you?"
Something is definitely up, I thought, they're being too kind, too generous to me. They only do that if they want something from me. I kept quiet. If they wanted to give me a room, I would gladly use it for as long as I need it. As long as it takes to escape.
I crawled out of the cage, stood up and stretched my cramped wings. They stretched out the full thirteen feet and the tan brown feathers spread out. The guards shifted nervously, trying to avoid touching my wings. The room was bigger than I thought. My wings were able to stretch out fully without touching the walls. After I had finished stretching them, I folded them into my back, hiding them behind my medium build, making me appear human from the front. A very strong human. The guards fell in behind me as I began to follow Dr Reilly from the room. We walked down stark white corridors, one like you would find in a hospital. I guess that's another thing this place and 'Eden' had in common. We turned down a corridor on the left and passed through a pair of doors into what seemed like another place. The walls turned from stark white, to bright colors. There were reds, greens, purples, browns and blues. We continued down the corridors, seemingly following the blue corridors until we stopped outside a door in one of these corridors. We had been walking for most likely about fifteen to twenty minutes.
"This is your room." Reilly explained, "The others are in the rooms down the hall and on the next story above and below you."
I opened the door and what I saw was utterly unbelievable, especially for someone like me, who's grown up in a cage for most of their life
Journal entry 2: Eden. The place of my birth. No, I am not Adam, or anyone from the bible. Eden was what the white coats decided to call the place. The term came from the bible, the Garden of Eden, were god created the first humans on earth. I suppose that's why they called it Eden. They created us and thought they were gods in doing so. But that is where the comparison ends. Eden was meant to be paradise. My Eden was a nightmare. What is the worst dream you have ever had? Multiply it by a hundred and you got a glimpse of the place. The kindness people were showing me here, reminded my of why this place was different than Eden. They were too kind. I wasn't use to it. But after living at Eden, who can blame me if I ever trust anyone again.
The stuff Dr Reilly said about me, about how I hate seeing people suffer for what I've done. That's true. My past will never leave me alone. Every night I see the faces of the people I killed. Every night, I hear the screams of those I killed. It was an accident. I had tried to forget it, but that never happened. My best friend died that day. Because of me. It was the only time I had ever lost control of my abilities. I had summoned a spirit of the earth, had become one with it. I didn't understand what I had done, couldn't control it, and I destroyed an entire wing. I had killed all my friends and family. The spirit had taken control and wanted revenge on the people who had destroyed the earth to build Eden. It had caused and earthquake. One that swallowed the entire collapsing wing. Before it could do any more damage, I got control and released it back. The strength that it took to subdue it left me weak and exhausted. I lay in the ruins of the wing, crying. I had killed my only friends and family that day. All I had left was Flame. After that I discovered how to control the spirits by summoning them. The first time I summoned it by using emotion; the spirit could fight me for control. Flame had helped me by asking the spirits about my power. That was how I learned to control the powers. That is my dark secret. The one I shall carry on my shoulders, nothing could free me for what I have done.
I closed the journal and placed it back in my pants pocket. The room they had given me was incredible. I had a 29 inch plasma screen TV on the wall with surround sound system, a virtual reality simulator with a few games. I also had a stereo system as well as a double bed and a desk to work on, with a computer to use, although there was restriction on things I could use on it. The best part about the room was I had an en-suite. Hot baths and showers, here I come. They were something I had only come across on rare occasion, basically when the whitecoats got tired of the smell.
I got up off the bed and walked over to the mirror on my dresser and looked at my reflection. I was pale, as pale as a ghost. And I was shaking. I went into the bathroom and splashed cold water over my face. I then dried off, walked back to bed, lay down on it and thought about what was going on now. I must have drifted off to sleep because I awoke to sunlight streaming into my room.
Dr Reilly watched as Blaze finished writing in his journal. He was there to observe Blaze's behavior, how he would react to his new home. So far Blaze had been co-operative. Blaze had never been co-operative in the past. They usually had to restrain him to do anything. Reilly watched as Blaze placed away the journal and got up off the bed.
"Shall we retrieve his journal Dr?" One of the security guards asked.
Dr Reilly ignored the question. He had seen Blaze's face in the mirror. It had been pale. Why? Reilly thought. Then it hit him, something he had said to Blaze earlier. I had brought up old memories best left forgotten. He had been annoyed at Blaze's inattention. That was why he said it.
"Dr?" the guard was waiting for an answer.
"Leave it alone for now," Reilly responded, "It is only a journal, after all. What harm could it do?"
"Understood sir!" the guard returned to his post and Reilly continued to watch Blaze. He is unique, Reilly thought, one of a kind. If only he knew how special. Dr Reilly turned away from the screen and walked out of the room. Blaze will soon learn why he is here, Reilly thought, but for now, ignorance is bliss.
I got up off of the bed and approached the screen that the sunlight was shining through. How can there be sunlight? I thought, we're underground. I pulled aside the screen and stared out upon a huge expanse of plains, meadows and… Orchards? I stared up at the sun shining down from a blue cloudless sky. How…? I saw a flickering above in the sky. Something wasn't right. I focused on the flickering patch. It seemed to darken, then clear. I watched closely and then I figured it out. It wasn't real. The Sky, the sun, they weren't real. It was all an illusion, a hologram.
I heard the door open and turned around to see Dr Reilly standing there, looking at me.
"What is this?" I asked, "I know it isn't real, so what is it?"
"What you see below," Reilly explained, "Is a cavern, fully enclosed with a self sustaining environment."
"In other words," I replied, "you managed to create a completely isolated 'Garden of Eden' underground."
"Yes, pretty much." Reilly said, sounding smug, "The environment is full self sustainable because we control the weather here. We were even able to introduce animals into the environment without negative effects." Reilly looked smug about it and I took a guess.
"You created this environment to include people like me?" I asked sounding surprised.
"That's right." Reilly answered, "The environment is specifically designed so that you could live within it and it would not collapse."
"So that means I'm allowed to fly freely around down there and no-one will stop me?" I replied, still not quite believing it.
"That is the idea," Reilly said, "although it will only be allowed during your free time, when you are not doing training or school work."
There it was again, 'training', but what sort of training.
"Are we allowed to go for flights?" I asked Reilly.
"Sure. Training will begin tomorrow." Reilly informed me, "Be in the briefing room by 0900 hours. You'll find out why you're here."
About time, I thought, they wanted something major from us otherwise they wouldn't be so nice.
I stepped out onto the balcony and spread my wings to their full extent. A small breeze was blowing. They even control the wind, I thought, interesting. It brushed against my face, soft and inviting. It ruffled my feathers and begged me to release my earthbound restraints. To flap my wings and be free. That was exactly what I did. I jumped off the balcony and began to free dive towards the ground. The air was rushing past me, howling in my ear. My heart was pumping, beating faster and faster as the adrenaline began to course through my veins. I flared my wings and my speed reduced quickly until I was flying within reaching distance of the tree tops. I closed my eyes and beat my wings in a steady rhythm, slowly using the warm air current to raise myself into the air. I felt my wingtips brush something and realized I was near the roof of the cavern. I had risen pretty quickly. I looked down and realized that the cavern was quite large. It would have been around fifty miles long by about twenty wide. I was probably cruising at around a thousand feet in the air. Pretty impressive, even for mad scientists.
I was cruising along like that for about five minutes before I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I twisted my head to get a better look. The shape was large, larger than a normal bird, yet it had wings. I decided to get closer and have a better look so I began approaching the figure. It definitely had wings and it was definitely human in shape. It was a girl, about ten years of age. She looked like she was dancing in the air. She twirled around and saw me. She stopped when she noticed me and let out a cry of surprise. I began to fly away. She was afraid of me. I didn't want to scare her. I hadn't expected to see anyone as young as her here. She was definitely only ten years old… too young.
Something slammed into my back, sending me flying. Is it even possible to be sent flying when you are already flying? Apparently so. I soared through the air and began to fall when the second person attacked me again. I glanced up at her to se she was also a girls, around my age. She was also good at fighting. I fended off her blows, but couldn't get my wings open, she was in the way. I did the only thing I could have done in this situation, I folded my wings right back, into my body, and plummeted like a rock. She was surprised by the move and floated for a second before following me. As I was about to hit the tree's, I spread my wings and slowed myself down. Not fast enough. I slammed into the canopy of leaves. Disorientation set in. I was surrounded by leaves and branches, no way of telling which way was up and which way was down, then I passed through and saw the ground too close for comfort. I flung up my arms and crashed into the ground. All went dark…
The first thing I thought was I'm alive. The second thing was why? And the third thing I thought was why do I hurt all over? I heard whispering nearby and opened my eyes. I stared up at the canopy of leaves and remembered what had happened. I sat up quickly, my body protesting, sharp pains stabbing at me, brining me back to reality quickly. I heard rustling above me in the trees and looked up. The girl I saw earlier was watching me warily from behind the other girl, the one that attacked me. I looked up into her face. Startling blue eyes gazed back at me. She was definitely around my age, maybe a couple of months younger. Her wings were pure white with a faint silver sheen over the feathers. She actually looked quite stunning with her golden brown hair framing her face. Not the time to be thinking about that, Blaze, I thought, she tried to kill you. I turned my attention to the younger girl. She had dark, emerald green, eyes which looked back at me shyly. Her wings were white with flecks of green and brown through the feathers. She had the same golden brown hair as the other girl. There sisters, I thought, that's why she attacked me, she thought her sister was in trouble. The older girl spoke first.
"Why did you attack my sister?" She asked.
Talk about jumping to conclusions
"What?" I responded, "I didn't attack her, I was trying to talk to her. She probably got freaked out by my sudden appearance."
She seemed to accept the explanation, although was still wary of me. I noticed the body language and asked, "Why are you wary of me?"
"You just survived a fall from at least a hundred feet, without any broken bones or serious wounds. I have a right to be wary." She responded hotly.
"Good point," I replied.
seemed to calm her down. I was thinking about that as well. Images
flashed through my mind. The canopy of leaves, the branches, the
ground. I had flung up my arms to protect myself and seemed to hit a
wall of cushioned air that slowed me down. Then I hit the ground
hard. That was when I blacked out. The wall of air had saved my life.
But where had it come from...?
I swore silently. This was the last thing I wanted.
"He slowed down before he hit the ground," the younger sister said, "I saw him do it through the trees."
"Be quiet Terra!" the older girl commanded, "We don't know if we can trust him."
"Skye, he's one of us." The girl called Terra said, "We can trust him."
"Skye is it?" I asked, "You younger sister Terra was telling the truth. I did slow down before I hit the ground. It was my ability."
"What, you can slow down?" Skye asked, "That's Impressive."
"What are you, sarcasm incarnate?" I asked, "It's my Telekinesis. I was able to throw up a wall of cushioned air to reduce my speed."
"Impressive." Skye replied, "I have never met anyone with that ability before."
"Well now you have." I replied, "Along side the Telekinesis, I also got Telepathy…"
I trailed off as faint whispers entered my head. They entered my mind like fog creeps through a town. I heard different voices, different thoughts. All of them weren't nice. One thought came to the front of my mind; it was saying time to play.
"Are you ok?" Terra asked, "What's your name anyway?"
"My name is Blaze," I answered, "I'm fine, but you have to get out of here, both of you."
"Why?" Skye asked.
"Yeah," Terra piped up, "Why do we have to go?"
"Because little puppies want to play." Skye looked at me confused, "Erasers are on their break and they feel like toying with us. Go!"
Just then new thoughts entered my mind. The thoughts were scared, panicked. I listened closer to the thoughts. I realized that they belonged to someone like me, someone with wings. Whoever it was, was being chased by the Erasers. Got to keep running, have to stay away from them. Damn can't fly, the Eraser must have clipped my wing. I listened to the thoughts and was able to tap further into his mind. I could see where he was.
Turn left, I told him.
What the? He responded, who are you?
Just turn left. I thought back. He turned left and continued to run through the trees. Now turn right.
Where are you leading me? He asked.
I'm leading you to me, I replied.
I broke contact as I heard him come running through the trees. He came crashing into the clearing and stopped. The kid looked to be about ten. He had light brown, short hair. His wings were grey and white. He was sweating from the sprint through the woods. His hair was plastered to his face, hazel eyes gazed at me.
"Were you the one talking in my head?" He asked.
"Yes, I was," I replied, "now if you don't mind duck."
The kid ducked and I threw a thick stick into the trees where an Eraser came rushing out of the trees. The stick smashed into the Erasers snout, he yelped out of pain and crashed to the ground. The other four Erasers came out of the trees and surrounded us. The Leader stepped out of the trees and I recognized him right away. I was the one who had given him the scar down his snout. It was Lucas.
"I should have expected to see you here Alpha," He sneered as he mentioned my codename. He knew how much I hated being called that.
"Lucas," I replied, "what an unpleasant surprise." I kept my voice perfectly neutral. No point in giving him the satisfaction of rising up to the bait.
"That hurt Alpha," Lucas replied, faking hurt, "I was so looking forward to our next encounter."
"Really?" I asked, "I was hoping to never see you again."
"Ouch. Now that really hurt me" Lucas said, "We do have feelings Alpha, we aren't monsters you know."
"You could have fooled me," I replied, "By the way, my name is Blaze, not Alpha, remember that."
"Why do you resent us so much, Blaze?" Lucas asked, truly wanting to know.
"I think you know Lucas." I said, "It was because you got to roam free. You got to walk around like you owned the place while we were stuck in cages. We were used as your training toys. Your kind has killed so many of mine, I lost count. You've never been held in a cage, wishing to be free, trying to ignore the call for freedom. You always had it. I was born to fly, yet they kept me bound to the earth." A thought came to me. One that would hit a nerve. "I don't lie about who I am, I can't. You have to, you're a coward. You don't want anyone to see what you really are. You're afraid of not being accepted, of being locked up like we were. At least I never hid who I was."
Lucas had turned red with rage. Bones started grinding in his face. His face was stretching out, forming a snout, canines were growing into fangs that lined his mouth. Fur began to spread along his body, covering him. His eyes turned from an ice blue into the bright yellow of a wolf. His nails lengthened into claws and he went down on all fours as his body finished transforming into a wolfs.
"You will pay for that comment Blaze." Lucas replied, Anger in his voice, "Never insult the pride of a wolf. Reilly wants you and the others alive, but I will cause you plenty of pain without breaking my orders."
Lucas leaped at me, claws fully stretched, fangs bared. I reacted quickly and grabbed the paws to stop his leap. His weight slammed me into the ground, pinning me there. He raised his head and was ready to bit down on my shoulder when I kneed him I the stomach. For a split second he wavered. That was all the time I needed. I heaved him off of me and sprang up from the ground, ready to fight if I had to. Two wolves came at me, trying to overwhelm me. I spin-kicked one in the head, letting the force slam him into his partner. That was two down three to go. The other kid was doing well, fending off one of the Erasers all on his own. I saw another sneaking up behind him and shouted a warning. He spun and dealt with the second by slamming the first wolf into him.
"Look out!" He shouted, just as a pain spread through my shoulder. Lucas had sunk his teeth into me. The pain made my world swim…
I shook myself of the double vision and swung a punch up into Lucas' snout, forcing him to release me. He dropped to the ground and tried to attack me again. I avoided his attack and bought up my foot to kick him in the ribs. My right side was going numb from the loss of blood. I didn't know how much longer I could last without looking at my wounds. My foot connected with his ribs and sent him flying into a nearby tree. The impact had made me lose balance and fall to the ground. Lucas began to charge me. I heard a creaking and groaning coming from around me. Next thing I knew the roots from the trees began to attack Lucas. Stopping him from getting to me. They whipped back and forward, creating an impassable maze. Lucas gave me a glare of pure hatred and let out some short barks. The other Erasers that could still walk picked up the unconscious ones and they retreated back into the forest, leaving us alone. I looked up into the canopy to find Terra floating there an green aura surrounding her. The aura began to fade and the roots began to return back to the earth from which they came. Skye descended from the canopy and approached me.
"Ouch, that has to hurt," She commented, noticing the bite wound on my shoulder, "let me have a look at it." She approached me and began to examine the wound. A slight tickling sensation began to spread from the wound. I twisted my head to see what was going on. Skye's hands had a white aura around them and it was spread over the wound. I watched as the teeth marks began to heal and close up. After about a minute had passed, the bite mark was fully healed and the only trace it had been there were the tears in my shirt and the blood around the tears.
"Thanks," I said, impressed by such a useful ability, "now that is an ability that is not well seen. Your sister can control the element of earth I take it?"
"Yes I can." Terra replied, landed on the ground in front of me softly.
"Who's the new guy?" Skye asked
"I don't know," I replied, "He kid, who are you?"
"I hate being called kid. Thanks for the help though," " He replied, "My name is Falcon."
Journal Entry 3: Telekinesis, the ability to control things with your mind. Many people would kill to have abilities like that. I wish I didn't. Call me nuts but it's true. My Telekinesis had first appeared with my other ability. The Telepathy was a package deal, it came with the Telekinesis. When it had first shown up I was barely able to control it. I caused havoc around 'Eden', destroying things; the only way to stop it was by exhausting myself. Whenever it started, the whitecoats locked me in a room and let me go wild. I usually trashed the room. But it hasn't shown in three years. I thought my Telekinesis had disappeared because I was afraid to use it or my mind had locked it away. I had feared what I could do with it. I had almost hurt Flame when I lost control. I swore I would never use it again. So why was it showing up now? That was the question I needed answered. Perhaps only time will tell. Skye and Terra had abilities that could both harm and help people. All powers could help or harm people. I had only discovered the harmful side, that's was why I hated my powers. I wish they came with an Instruction manual. Terra's ability I could see both sides of, but Skye's? I wouldn't have a clue. Both girls seem to understand their powers. Skye had been nice, once she began to trust someone. Although I guess it wouldn't be trust. All of us had trust issues; acceptance would be a better word for it.
Falcon was a different case, he was curious about us, who we were, why we were here, yet he told us very little about himself. He had been born in another installation called 'The nest'. Strangely enough, the only experiments they did there were the bird human combinations. Flacon hadn't told me much about the place only that the people were made from different species of birds. That was all he said. I kept an eye on him, watched how he would react to us and the environment. I had learnt to evaluate people not by their words, but by their body language, how they reacted to different situations. Falcon wouldn't speak to me with words, perhaps he would tell me about himself with body language. I know it sounds strange, but I learnt because the white coats would never speak the truth to me. I had to learn… to survive.
I awoke to the sound of banging on the door. Who could be banging on my door this early in the morning, I thought, I guess they don't know I'm a late riser. I looked at the clock next to my bed; it was only seven in the morning. The banging continued, so I got up and chucked on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I answered the door to find two Erasers standing there. What do they want now? I thought.
"Come with us," The one closest to the door commanded, "Reilly wants to speak to you."
I recoiled from the stench of the guy's breath. Geez, haven't they heard of mouth wash? I stepped outside the door and closed it, locking it so that no-one could snoop around inside, and followed them down the corridor. They seemed to follow the orange stripe that led to the staff dormitories. After about ten minutes, they stopped in front of a door. I looked at the sign and read 'Dr. Jack Reilly'. His first name was Jack? Interesting. I opened the door and stepped inside the room. It was pretty bare with only a desk, chair, bed and computer in the room. I noticed Dr Reilly sitting at the desk, typing something into his computer so I spoke first.
"Excuse me Dr Reilly", I started, "You wanted to see me?"
Reilly looked up from the computer and turned to look at me. I caught a glimpse of camera footage on his computer and realized that it was from the previous day, during the fight with the Erasers. They were filming the cavern as well? I thought, can't they give us any privacy? Reilly noticed me looking and shut off the screen. I looked back at Reilly and saw he had something important to tell me.
"What did you want, Reilly?" I asked.
"Alpha, I mean Blaze," Reilly answered, "I wish to explain something to you. It's about why you are here."
Oh boy! I thought, normally if they use such a grievous tone of voice, they usually have something unpleasant to tell you. And By the way Reilly spoke to me, why I'm here isn't going to be a picnic.
"Cut the crap Reilly." I said, annoyed, "Just spill the beans."
"Since you put it that way, Blaze," Reilly replied, "I told you when you first arrived that you were here to be trained. The training isn't about you behaviour and the countless escape attempts. That would actually come in handy."
"Handy? For what?" I asked, sounding confused.
"Your training will cover things from hand-to-hand combat and martial arts through to guns and demolitions," Reilly explained to me.
"Why would you want to teach us things like that?" Now I was really confused, "Are you trying to train us to be soldiers or something?"
"No Blaze," Reilly explained, "we aren't trying to train you to become a soldier. We're training you to become an assassin."
The shock reached me before the words. We're training you to become an assassin.
"What!" I just couldn't believe it, "You're training us to become assassins!"
"Look, listen to me before you jump to conclusions…" Reilly began.
"No, I won't listen to you any more," I interrupted, "You already ruined our lives and now you want to make us murderers? I won't do that for you. I'd rather die myself."
"Would you watch the others die before you do?" Reilly retorted, losing his cool.
Damn He had me there.
"No," I said through gritted teeth, "I couldn't, but then again you would know, wouldn't you."
"Calm down Blaze," Reilly soothed, "there are two erasers outside that wouldn't hesitate to kill you if I give the order."
"How can they get the order if I kill you first?" I whispered so quietly, Reilly had to strain to hear it. I went like that when I was serious about things, when my anger turned my heart cold, when I felt no emotion. I had done that once before, when I nearly killed Lucas, that's how he got the scar. Damn I really wished I had killed Lucas now. He had made my life a living nightmare.
"Oh come on Blaze," Reilly said, "don't be like that. At least listen to me."
"I'll give you five minutes," I said, "If you can come up with a reason why, I'll listen."
"Fine. I'll tell you everything you wish to know," Reilly replied.
"Start with why you began this entire operation," I demanded
"Alright," Reilly said, "I'll tell you the entire story. Do not say anything until I'm finished. As you know, the year is 2020. The story I'm about to tell you starts fourteen years before you were born. Have you ever heard of a girl who goes by the name Maximum Ride?"
I did recognize the name; Max was the only experiment to successfully escape with her family, her flock. Max and her flock were also the only experiments to stay free. They had managed to avoid captures. I noticed Reilly was waiting for an answer and nodded my head.
"This story begins with the birth of Maximum Ride..." Reilly said.
Reilly's story part 1:
"Fourteen years before you were born, Blaze," Reilly began, "An experiment was created. She was born like you, part bird part human and she was one of the first successful experiments created. As she grew up, she named herself 'Maximum Ride'. She was quite intelligent and strong. The scientist that looked after her was called Jeb. He pretended to be their friend and got them to do experiments. Their life was similar to yours, with experiments and schooling most of the day."
"About four years before your birth, Max and her 'flock' as she called them, managed to escape from one of our labs called 'The School'. For about two years after her escape we couldn't seem to find any trace of her. We found out from Jeb where they were staying and sent in a group of Erasers to capture one of them. Her name was Angel. We knew Max wouldn't leave behind one of her flock, especially one she thought of as a younger sister, and set a trap. We didn't expect her to attack with some wild birds and they slipped through our grasp. We hunted them for the next year or so, hoping to stop them from revealing themselves to the world. The world wasn't ready for them. Max and the others of her flock were what we classed as a 'First Generation' experiment."
"The 'First Generation' experiments were born from human mothers and fathers, and had their DNA altered before implantation into the mothers. They were supposed to be the beginning. However we found them after almost two years of searching. They had been involved in an accident, the type of one that can be arranged. At first we figured it was a hunting accident, the bodies were left in plain sight, we thought they would be coming back and so removed the bodies. But we found traces that lead us to another conclusion. They had been murdered. How someone had done it, we didn't know. We had the bodies cremated; to bury them in the ground would have seemed too cruel a thing to do to them. Around this time, the scientists that made the Council and the Director, the leader of the council, decided to start another experiment and called it the 'Second Generation' experiment. Experiments created from the DNA of two 'First Generation' experiments. This is where you came in Blaze. You were the first successful 'Second Generation' experiment."
Reilly's story Part 2:
"You and the others you met yesterday seem to be the most uncooperative 'Second Generation' experiments but were too valuable to be put to sleep," Reilly continued, "So the installations that you grew up in sent you here to be trained as assassins. This installation was designed for your kind. For your training... training for Revenge. We had found out more about who had killed Max and her flock. It had been a well trained, ex-military assassin. We followed up on the assassin to find that he was unanimously hired by people in positions of power. Our guess was world powers. They had somehow found out about Max and the others, about the experiments but wanted to deal with us quietly. We have lost contact with two installations already. 'The School' was the first followed by another installation we called 'The Den', an installation that was creating Erasers experiments."
"We took a guess at why these people were afraid of us and came up with the idea that perhaps they thought we were trying to replace them with a more advanced type of human, humans like you. I don't know why they would think that. We only wanted to improve humanity, expand the length of our lives, and ended up creating another couple of races all together. We only wanted to let the world know about you when it was time and to allow you to be citizens of countries all over the world. When the assassin killed Max, it proved that without a proper government, the world would never accept you. And that's why you are here."
I sat there, taking it all in. This was too much information even for my intelligent brain to handle. Max, the idol for all bird-human kind, had been killed in cold blood. By possibly the most influential people in the world. After five minutes had passed I finally spoke.
"You want us to kill the people that had Max murdered," I said, "and to allow you to establish a world government system to allow us freedom. Seems a bit far-fetched but being part of the plan does make it believable. But one question, why? Why would you do that for your experiments?"
Reilly didn't respond at first. He hung his head, and then looked up at me. "I can't tell you, I can only show you."
Reilly stood up and turned his back to me. He pulled his science coat off and revealed his back to me. He was wearing a black shirt and black jeans, but that wasn't what caught my attention. What caught my attention were the pure black wings that were on his back. It was hard to judge the wingspan because they were folded up, but I guessed that they were a near impossible twenty foot.
"They are large," Reilly explained, "Because I was not born this way. I was a volunteer scientist who was willing to use an experimental drug that could alter DNA. We did the experiment so that if anyone on the outside world wished to become like us, they could. It will only become available once we have control."
I was actually a bit stunned by the breakthrough. I knew they could repair DNA with a gene therapy, but totally rewriting it…? That was something new.
"Blaze, one thing about you being a 'Second Generation'," Reilly continued, "is that your parents, the ones we got the DNA from, were first generation, meaning they were both bird-human combinations."
"I realized that," I responded, "What are you getting at?"
"Blaze," Reilly sounded like he didn't want to tell me this piece of information, but did anyway, "your father was one of the ones murdered, his name was Fang." My knees went weak, but Reilly continued, "Blaze... your mother was Max herself."
Shock had finally set in and I had to collapse on the floor. My legs couldn't hold me any more. Max was my mother.
I had finished talking to Reilly. He had said that I needed to get my head around the information he had given me. I don't think I could. I was feeling numb, my mind was in a state of confusion and I had to tell the others about why they were here. I didn't know how I was going to, when my emotions were a storm bottled up inside of me. I was full of sorrow at the loss of a family I never knew and would never get a chance to. I was also feeling lost and confused. My world had been turned upside down in a matter of two hours. The Erasers guarding me were leading me down the hall towards the briefing room. It was five past nine and I was already running late for the meeting. Reilly had said that it wouldn't matter; they were still waiting on one more arrival. I didn't really care who it was at the moment.
The Erasers stopped in front of a wooden door. Judging by the strength required to open the door, it wasn't only wood, it was probably reinforced with titanium or something strong like that. It would have to be if one of the experiments got angry from the information. An Eraser shoved me into the room and closed the door behind me, making sure it was bolted. They didn't want to deal with all of us when they got the outrageous news. I stood there for a moment, the numbness was wearing off and my emotions were starting to break like a mental tsunami.
"Damn it!" I shouted and punched the door hard enough to splinter the wood and dent the metal, "Damn it!"
Tears were starting to flow down my face as everything caught up with me. I leaned my back against the wall and slid down till I was on the ground, tears leaving glistening trails on my face. I'm not one to get emotional, but even the toughest nut must crack. I heard talking around me, but paid no attention to it. I was drowning in my emotions. Then a voice broke through the waves.
"Are you ok Blaze?" I looked up into Skye's face, her healing powers were radiating out from her and my emotions seemed to be held back at bay for the time being. She seemed to be able to heal both physical and emotional wounds. But mine were too deep for her to heal fully.
"I'm fine," I answered, getting to my feet and wiping the tears from my face. The others looked at me, not quite believing, but left it at that. I was glad they did. Falcon then spoke up.
"We're only waiting on the last arrival," Falcon said "and then the briefing can begin."
Just then the door opened and a person was thrust into the room, landing spread eagled on the floor.
The figure was a sixteen year old boy with multi-coloured wings that seemed to swap and change. He twisted his body and sprung up into a defensive stance as we approached him. I looked at his face and saw uncertainty on it, he wasn't sure if we were there to help him or hurt him. His body language imitated the same uneasiness that his face showed. I stopped approaching him, the others followed my example.
"Do you need a hand?" I asked, stretching out my hand towards him.
He sprang at me, a knife glinting in his hands. Where the heck did he get a knife? I thought, that doesn't really matter. He was acting like a caged animal. I suppose that would be his animal instincts for survival kicking in, the movement had probably surprised him. I reacted, but too slowly, the knife's edge bit into my arm and slashed a red line across my forearm. I reacted on instinct and grabbed his wrist, twisting it until he dropped the knife. I then grabbed it and threw it into the wall, the blade sinking into wall until the dull thud of metal hitting metal came from the wall. I held on the guy, now struggling to get released from my grip. I held onto him, but loosely so that he would realise I wasn't there to hurt him. After a few minutes he began to calm down. He stopped struggling and I released him from my grip. His dark black hair hung down in his face and it seemed to cover his expression of embarrassment. He looked around at us, realising we were just like him, teenagers with wings who were always afraid for their lives. His eyes had the same quality as his wings. First they were an emerald green, next a sapphire blue, turning to a hazel. Whenever you looked, they were never the same shade of colour. The stinging in my arm brought my thoughts back to the cut on my arm. I looked down and examined it. Blood had trailed down my arm and was dripping onto the floor. I checked the cut, but it was only light.
"Let me look at that," Skye commanded, "I'll fix it up."
"No," I replied, "it should be fine; you need to save your strength. Using powers tends to tire us out."
She ignored my comment and healed it for me anyway. The cut disappeared and I dried the blood from my arm.
"Sorry about that," the new guy apologised, "when my instincts kick in, it's hard to control them. That's to be expected from where I came from."
"Where did you come from?" I asked.
"I don't like to talk about it," The new guys said, "my names Drake by the way."
We all introduced ourselves and to Drake and he seemed to accept us, although he tended to stick to himself after a few minutes of conversation. I also noticed he guarded his body language; it would be hard to find out anything about this guy.
"So," Flacon said, "When is this briefing going to get started."
"I'll start it now." I replied, ignoring the looks of surprise and shock on the groups face.
"How could you tell us about everything that's going on," Terra asked, "you're just as clueless as we are."
Nods of agreement went around the room. I sighed; this was going to be difficult to tell them, the others noticed my hesitation but remained silent.
"Having a two hour conversation with Dr Reilly tends to fill in a few gaps," I explained, "let me tell you what he told me. I'll let you know why we are here."
And so I told them what Reilly had told me. It told them about Maximum Ride and her flock, and I told them about the assassination. I told them about Reilly's plans for a new government system, about making us legal citizens. I even told them about Reilly and the experiment he was part of. I also told them about the 'First' and 'Second Generation' experiment and how we were the 'Second Generation'. I left out the bit about Max and Fang being my genetic parents. I told them that Reilly hadn't told me who our parents were. I finished off by telling them we were being trained to be assassins. A stunned silence filled the room. You could have dropped a pin and heard it loud and clear, even without our enhanced hearing. The first person to speak was Drake.
"How do you know that was the full truth?" He asked, "Reilly could be lying to you or left out another part of the truth."
"I have thought of that," I replied, "but the training would come in handy."
"For what?" Falcon asked.
I was distracted by the sound of a faint voice entering my thoughts.
Blaze can you hear me? It called out through the darkness. A voice I recognized.
I can hear you, but only just. I thought back, how long has it been, since we last talked?
Almost three years, she replied, remember the gift I gave you?
How could I forget? I asked, I wear it all the time.
I cannot keep the connection long, She replied, my mind is fractured; it's half in half out of cyberspace.
Help me find you, I pleaded.
I can't, She replied, I have no sense of my body. I can feel it, am part of it but it's like I'm detached from it. I can't keep the connection open for long; you will have five minutes without security in the room. Make the most of it.
Thank you, I replied, Flame
Use it well brother, She said as the connection faded.
"Blaze?" A voice entered into my thoughts, "Blaze are you ok. You spaced out a bit there."
"I'm fine," I answered; my hand was clenched around the necklace hanging from my neck, the necklace that Flame had given me before she disappeared.
She had given it to me on our birthday, I had given her mine. The necklace was of a phoenix with amber eyes and had ruby wing feathers. After three years of silence, I had finally got to talk to Flame. But that just bought up more questions. Like why did they lie about here death? And where is she now?
Shouting broke me out of my thoughts. Drake and Skye were having a huge argument, Skye was the one doing all the shouting, Drake was keeping his voice normal level, something else he was good at hiding, his feelings about things.
"Reilly has told us the story," Skye shouted, "why can't you accept that Reilly might want to help us?"
"Reilly might be lying to us," Drake replied calmly, "how do we know if he has told us the full story?"
"He told us all about his plan," Skye argued, "The deaths of Max and the flock and about who hired the assassin. He even told us why we were here."
"To win us over," Drake replied calmly.
"To what ends?" Skye said, not giving up easily
"He told us plenty," I interrupted, "but I get the feeling he was holding something back. There was something he didn't tell me. Either because he couldn't tell me, or because he felt it was better we didn't know."
Drake looked at me with… was that relief? Skye on the other hand, looked like a dormant volcano. She was going to keep her mouth shut, but didn't like where the conversation was going.
I checked my watch, we had only three minutes left of the five minutes that Flame had given me. I had wasted enough time.
"I don't agree with everything Reilly wants from us, but I will take the six month training course. We need the training to survive in the real world."
The others began to object to the idea, but I held up my hand to stop them.
"But they will not get us to kill anyone unless they gave us evidential proof that it was the person who hired the assassin. The training will help us with or escape from this place later on."
Silence greeted that statement.
"Are you mad!" Drake exclaimed, "They could be listening in on us right now."
"They aren't", I answered, "Flame is taking care of the security."
"Flame?" Everyone was interested. I forgot I hadn't told them about my sister. So I told them about here talents and how we ended up separate. I noticed that Skye put a protective hand of Terra. They were true sisters.
"Anyway," I continued, "we need to escape sooner or later. We can't live out our lives down here. We should get to see the world as it is before the world changes."
Everyone went silent, thinking about the outside world. The only time they had seen it was on their brief escape attempts. They all wished they could have been normal, even I have wished for that. To live a normal life, with a family and friends. But another side of me was hoping that that wish would never come true. I would have never found out about the thrill of flying. I think the others have had the same thoughts. The only problem was if the world was ready to accept us or not.
I checked my watch and the five minutes were up. The decision was going to be made; it was in which direction the decision would go that I was afraid of. But it had to be made.
"What do you think?' I acted, pretending that I had just finished telling them everything, "Should we go ahead with the training, or should we refuse it?"
The others caught onto the act and thought about it for a moment, and then they all agreed. We would do the training, while planning our escape. The only problem we had now, were the bracelets around our wrists. We needed to disable them before Reilly managed to catch us. If he did, it might very well be the end of our lives. Just then, the door opened and two erasers walked in.
"It's time to go," One of them commanded, "briefings over."
I walked to the door and passed by the Eraser. I felt him tense as my wings passed close to his nose. He could smell us and we all learnt, there was nothing they liked more than hunting our kind for sports. They found it amusing.
Talk about sick and twisted.
Journal Entry 4: The training began the next day. We ended up with timetables like a normal high school student would get, except ours were with classes like Demolitions training, Hand-to-hand combat, melee weapons combat (swords and daggers, stuff like that) and with gun training. We also had other training like hacking, stealth, security systems and training to do with blending in to our surroundings. They taught us the trick Reilly had done with me, how to fold our wings against ourselves to look human. It was pretty useful. They only way you would find out we had wings, is if someone tore our shirt and saw the wings themselves. And we were taught to kill them if they found out. The secret must be kept. Yeah right, like the secret would be kept for long, especially if Reilly's plan came to pass. Life sucks at mutant high for winged assassins. That's what we called it for a joke. It made things a lot more bearable. The trainers never figured out why we came to class laughing our heads off. We usually pulled a prank on the new Eraser transfers. God they were really stupid.
After a few months we began to realise we were there to depend on each other. Skye was the team medic, she had a natural and unnatural gift for healing. Drake was excellent at stealth, with his camouflage ability he was able to blend into his surroundings then always got us a way into the training buildings during field training. Terra was out nature expert and was really good at creating poisons. Better watch your dinner around her. She pulled a prank on Skye after learning a poison that tended to make people run to the toilet every five minutes. Skye was sick for a week. We all had a laugh about it though, even Skye. We all agreed that it would be useful in the future. Falcon was our expert at hacking and he had a natural talent at throwing knives. I had a natural talent at all hand-to-hand combat and with swords. Strange considering that I had never even used a sword before. Good a silent kills. Surprisingly everyone was excellent at using guns, from little 9mm pistols to the larger weapons with big bangs. We didn't car about the names, only the large explosions they made.
After six months we had learnt all that we needed to. We even had a few practical assessments to test our skills. No deaths were done in the training of our team. Unless you count the two Eraser that got to close to one of our explosives, that was amusing. The largest piece they found was a claw. Now it came to the final assessment, proving that we were ready. They had given us our first assassination. It was the person who killed the flock, the original assassin. That was one person that I wouldn't mind making pay for what he did. Ah who cares, revenge is sweet and there is now way of hiding that. But getting serious, I wonder how he would feel after meeting the son of his 'target'.
"Do you have him?" Drake's voice came out of the earpiece.
"Negative," Falcon said.
"No sign of him," Skye replied.
"I can't see him," Terra informed calmly, coldly, too coldly for a ten year old assassin girl.
I looked down at the street from the tree I was sitting in. We were watching the street where the assassin lived. His name was Steven Peterson, ex-military sniper turned assassin, does freelance and makes sure of client confidentiality. And at that moment he was walking down the road, returning from a meeting with a client. This would prove to be a perfect cover story for the killing. He came back from a meeting where he had a disagreement with his client and the client had him killed. It's strange how a person thinks when looking for revenge. All I could think about were the pictures of the flock's bodies, how on each a single bullet had penetrated the heart, the only wound on their bodies.
"Blaze?" Drake asked, "Do you have eyes on the target." I didn't respond, "Can you see Steven?"
"I have confirmed the target," I updated the rest of the flock, "he's walking down the western pavement. He seems unaware of any followers. I'll move in on him."
"We'll cover you," came a chorus of replies.
I jumped down out of the tree, spreading my wings to soften the landing. I made my way across the road and followed him, walking when he walked, stopping when he stopped. The perfect imitation of his movements. I continued to follow him down the road. A scraping sound broke the air. My boot had caught on a stone and had scrapped it across the ground. Steven spun around and I slammed into him, sending him reeling into the ground. I heard a couple of ribs crack as he landed. He tried to raise himself off the ground but I placed my foot on his chest and drew a gun out of the hip holster. I pointed it at his head and pulled back the hammer. The gun was a modified Socom pistol. It had been modified to withstand our strength and our unique hand grips. It was capable of multiple attachments. At the moment it had a silencer on the end of the barrel.
"Please, don't kill me," Steven pleaded. Strange for a cold hearted assassin, "It was only a job, I needed the money."
"You killed a group of teenagers sixteen years ago," I accused him, "one of them was my mother. How could you?"
"The winged freaks?" He asked, I pressed my boot harder down on his chest, "Yeah I killed them. I had no choice in the matter. I had been caught doing something illegal and they said they would clear me of all charges, if I killed those kids. I didn't realise that one of them had a child. I would have rather gone to jail otherwise."
"I don't quite believe you." I said coldly, "Who were the people that hired you?"
"I don't know," Steven exclaimed, "The people talked through their guards. I never met them face to face."
"There was more than one?" I asked.
"Yes. Please don't kill me," Steven pleaded.
I couldn't kill him, no matter how much I wanted to. It just felt wrong. I took my boot off of his chest and started to walk away.
"Blaze, what are you doing?" Drake asked, "We need to kill him. That was Reilly's orders."
I pulled out the earpiece. Thankfully they didn't hear the conversation between Steven and I.
"You forgot rule number one," Steven lectured me from behind, "never leave a target alive, especially one that's seen you face."
I heard the hammer of his gun being pulled back. He was going to shoot me.
I heard the creak of the trigger being pulled back and reacted at the last second. I rolled to the right while drawing out my gun. As I fell I lifted it up and shot Steven, All of this I did on instinct, all before he pulled the trigger. The bullet hit him square in the middle of the chest, killing him almost instantly. I remained flat on the ground, staring disbelieving. I had just killed someone. The others came down from the trees and started cleaning up the evidence we had been there, but left the body to be found. That was our orders. I gathered my stuff from the tree I was in and got ready to leave. As I was climbing down from the tree I heard someone approach from behind. I drew the gun and pointed it at the person. I turned to find Terra standing there and lowered the gun.
"Don't sneak up on me," I ordered, "next time I might shoot you."
"Sorry," She apologised, "I have to talk to you."
"About what?" I asked.
"About why you are taking this so personal," Terra replied.
"And that would be why?" I asked, getting annoyed.
"The trees told me the discussion you had with Steven," Terra said, "I'm sorry about Max, Blaze. Don't let the death of your mother affect your judgement. I know you are a kind person who has led a rough life, don't turn yourself into a killer. Max wouldn't have wanted that."
I sighed, "You right Terra. My mother, Max, and my father, Fang, were killed by this man, but he was only a puppet on a string. It's the real killers, the ones who gave the order, they have to pay. I do not wish to kill them, but if given the chance, I don't know what I'll do."
"And Terra," I continued, "Please don't tell the others. Not yet. I'll tell them when I'm ready."
"Just don't keep it from them for too long," Terra replied, "It's not a good way of gaining peoples trust, believe me."
"I believe you. It's just that I'm still getting my head around it."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. When the white coats introduced me to Skye, I couldn't believe she was my sister. I finally accepted it. Now we're inseparable."
I smiled another rare occurrence. Terra was always good at cheering my up. She always seemed to act older than her age.
"I better make the call." I said, pulling out a satellite phone and dialling the Training Academy, "Reilly will want an update by now."
Terra nodded her head and walked back to the tree she had been hiding in, probably to pack her gear. Killing was not the business a ten year old should be doing.
I dialled the number Reilly had given me to contact him. It was the number for the Academy. The phone rang once… twice… Thrice… Then someone finally answered.
"Hi, welcome to the Academy. How may I help you?" Reilly's secretary asked.
"It's Alpha," I said, "put me through to Reilly."
"I'll patch you through right away," The secretary replied.
The line went quiet as the secretary patched me through to Reilly. A moment later He came on the line.
"Have you completed the mission?" Reilly asked.
"Yes," I replied, "The target has been taken care of. We'll be returning soon."
"I have another target for you," Reilly informed me.
"Who?" I asked.
"Senator James Johnson," Reilly replied, "He's in the area."
"How do you know he was involved in the killing?" I asked, beginning to get suspicious.
"Blaze, when will you begin to trust me," Reilly said, "I am trying to help you get revenge on the people who killed you parents."
"I'll only believe you," I said, "When I find out how you are able to find the people involved. It's a bit suspicious, considering Steven didn't even know who hired him."
"We have been tracking Stevens bank accounts," Reilly explained, "and that is how we came across the payments he received from the ones who killed your parents. They have been crafty and paid the sum in separate accounts and in small sums that would not cause suspicion. The only ay we took a look into them was because he had not other connections to the people paying him."
"I'll take care of it." I hung up.
I hate this, I thought, I'm doing everything the white coats want me to. I felt like such a betrayer to all the experiments out there. The people we vowed to never obey the whitecoats, now I was following their orders. Talk about ridiculous choices.
I'll take care of it, I thought, if I want to survive to see another sunrise.
If there is one thing you must know about me is that I hate killing. I could never willingly kill a person. But then again, this is all against my will. I refer to them as targets. It helps me to become detached from the killing. I'm not making excuses; I have to kill to survive. I normally would rather have died, but in these circumstances, I will stay alive to protect the others. All the experiments. I don't know how many there are, but I have a feeling that even if we get citizenship, we will still be under the white coats control.
I walked back to the group as they finished cleaning up. The all stopped as they saw me approaching. They could tell something was up.
"We have another target." I informed them, "Reilly confirmed that a senator in the area was one of the people paying Steven. The information should be coming through on our wrist pilots."
Wrist pilots were sort of like palm pilots except you could attach them around your forearm and they work almost exactly like a computer. A beep signalled the arrival of the information. Everyone looked to their WP's and read the info. Senator Johnson was a greying, middle aged man who was beginning to bald. He house wasn't far from our current position, maybe about five minutes flight. The only thing I found unusual, was that there was no mention of any relatives, live or dead, or whether anyone lived with him in his household. I decided to take this slowly, something wasn't right.
"Alright everyone," I said, "Take this one slow, something isn't right about it."
"I agree," Drake responded, "Something isn't right."
"Alright," said, "gear up and let's go."
We all geared up and were ready to go in two minutes. Our bags were designed not to restrict our wing movement. They were actually quite comfortable, which I found disturbing considering that they were full of weapons. I ran down the road to gain enough speed to lift off and spread my wings. The breeze lifted me off the ground and raised me up into the air, the rest of the flock followed close behind. We flew west for about five minutes until we spotted the senators house. I slowed to a stop and hovered in the air, looking for a position to shoot from. It would be easier than breaking in, killing the senator and fighting our way out. There would also be less killing.
After a few moments I saw a building about two blocks away that would do. I gave the others the signal to fan out and cover the mansion, for that was what his house was, a mansion. I landed on the building I had sighted and pulled my pack off of my back. I reached into the backpack and pulled out a sniper rifle. It had been modified for our special vision. I assembled it and loaded the bullets into the magazine. As I did this the others reported in to confirm that they hade the mansion covered. I sighted the mansion and found the senator in the living room on the bottom floor.
"I have eyes on the target," I stated through the ear piece, "I'm taking the shot."
I squeezed down on the trigger, preparing for the recoil of the gun when the bullet was shot. I squeezed the trigger tighter, so tight that the width of a hair was the only thing stopping the bullet from being fired. A movement caught my attention. I watched closely as a woman walked into the room, a little girl, around the age of nine in tow. I released the trigger. They were his wife and daughter.
I was not going to kill the father of the family. Reilly could forget it. Just then my WP went off and I nearly did shoot the gun.
"Blaze?" Drake questioned, "Are you going to take the shot or do I have to."
"I'm not taking the shot," I replied, "no-one is. The guy has a family.
"And?" Falcon asked, "We have to follow Reilly orders."
I ignored the last question and looked at my WP. I had an incoming call, the caller was unknown. I accepted the call and the corners of the WP folded out revealing hologram projectors. This was new, I thought. An image flickered into being and I recognized it instantly.
"Are you seeing this?" Falcon asked disbelieving.
"Yeah," Terra replied, "I just can't believe it."
"I can't either," Skye replied
"This is new," Drake commented, apparently amused. I didn't reply, I was too busy looking at the picture of my sister.
"Blaze? Do you recognize her?" Skye asked, clearly confused.
"Yeah," I replied, "It's Flame."
"Your sister?" Drake asked.
"Let's just listen to what she has to say," I said.
"Blaze," Flame recognized me, "do not kill Senator Johnson. He had nothing to do with the murder of our parents. You have all been duped."
"Do you know who did it?" I asked.
"No," Flame replied, "but I might be able to find out."
"Thanks," I said to Flame, "We can't return to Reilly but we have the little problem of these." I raised my wrist and revealed the bracelets to Flame.
"I can help you with that." She replied. Her imaged disappeared and the plans of the bracelet came into being. I examined it and saw there were only two weak parts of the bracelet and both couldn't be destroyed by a normal experiment. You would have to use a machine. Or something else.
"Thanks again Flame," I said, "I owe you one."
"Just find the people who killed Max," Flame said, "That's all I want."
With that she ended the call and left us alone on our separate roofs. But now we could be free. Because of Flame, we could be free of the Academy, of the assassinations and be free of all the lies and deceit. We could finally find the truth out for ourselves.
We had flown to an abandoned warehouse about twenty minutes flight from the Senator's mansion. It was run down, covered in graffiti and had windows missing from their frames. Holes were scattered all over the roof, letting the faint light of the stars barely light the place. The steel doors were still standing, but probably wouldn't be able hold back an Eraser. All of us were nervous, waiting for the bracelets to activate and injecting us with the tranquilizers or expecting Erasers to show up at any time. Let me tell you, that isn't fun.
"I looked at the plans. There is no way we can break the bracelet." Drake was explaining to the group, "They specifically made it so that no experiment could break it."
"Well they didn't count on me," I replied.
Everyone looked at me surprised.
"What do you mean Blaze?" Skye asked.
I decided to tell them about my other ability. The one where I could summon spirits and fuse with them. Technically spirits are only part of what I could summon. Angels and Demons were possible as well. Practically anything that was a paranormal entity I could fuse with. I told them everything I knew about my ability, the good and the bad. Then I told them how I could destroy the bracelets.
"It could work," Drake backed me up, "it's better than letting Erasers capture or kill us."
"Bu there is the risk he'll lose control." Skye said. I could heal minor wounds, but I can't bring back the dead."
"It's a risk I'm willing to take," Terra said. I was surprised at that. I thought she would be with her sister. "I'd rather have Blaze kill me than the Erasers. I would rather have him, one of us; kill me, than one of those rank, disgusting, slobbering idiots."
"I'm with Terra," Falcon decided, "Blaze, are you sure you're up to it?"
I took my time in answering Falcon. I truly would never be ready for doing this. But then again, I had no choice. It was the only way I could save them. I had to do this, even if it killed us all. I was going to transform and try and destroy the bracelets. Skye would then heal the slight burns. The only way I could see of destroying the bracelets was to melt them. I finally let out a sigh and nodded my head.
"As ready as I'll ever be."
Reilly watched the satellite footage of the scene outside of Senators Johnson's mansion with interest. Even with the threat of death, Blaze still disobeyed orders to free his flock.
He's just like his mother, Reilly thought, only she lived in more peaceful times.
Reilly switched off the monitor, he had seen enough, he knew what would happen next, Flame would contact him, tell Blaze all Reilly knew, just like they agreed.
I think it's time to take a leaf out of you book Blaze. Reilly entered a password into his computer that would release a virus into the system and destroy all the data he had on Blaze and the others. Freedom is the only way to live, He thought, Blaze, you showed me the way.
He was through with taking orders from the people above him, of being forced to lie to the kids. He was through with it all. He would rather risk his life for something he believed in, rather than wasting away obeying orders he did not wish to carry out.
I can't believe it took me so long, he thought, to finally see the truth. The world will have to accept us for who we are. Reilly finished packing his stuff, which didn't take long, and looked around his room a last time. He shook his head. He couldn't believe that he had lived in such a small space for so long. He wanted open space, freedom.
A pounding on the door bought his thought together. He walked over and opened the door to find a squad of four Erasers outside the door, Lucas in the lead.
"Where are you going in such a hurry?" He asked.
"I'm leaving this place, for good," Reilly replied.
"No your not," Lucas sneered, "The director wants to see you."
"Tell him to get lost," Reilly replied.
"He said I could use force if I had to," Lucas informed Reilly, a grin on his face.
Reilly sighed, he had no choice.
"Lead the way." He finally answered, "But I'm not leaving my bag behind."
He followed Lucas down the corridor, the other Erasers boxing him in so he couldn't escape. He'd find a way to get out. He just had to wait.
They walked him down the corridor to the elevators and piled in. They then rode it up to the private offices at the top of the building, where the Directors office was. The elevator doors opened onto a luxurious office which was furbished with polished wood chairs, a desk and a grandfather clock. Behind the desk was a painting, one Reilly didn't recognize. The entire office reminded him of an office most likely found in the Whitehouse. Standing behind the desk was the Director himself.
"Ah Jack," The director recognized him, surprising considering that the director never bothered to learn his staffs names, "we have been in need of a chat."
"Director," Reilly said curtly, "Just what is this about?"
"It's about the computer virus you set loose into the system. I was accessing the files you had on your computer about Blaze and the others when all of a sudden, my computer crashed. Can you explain that?"
"Yeah. I'm finished with doing your dirty work. Leave the kids alone. We should not be ruining their lives for your ideas. They're only kids. If you want your Ideas realized, do them yourself. I'm getting out."
Reilly didn't wait for the Directors answer. Instead he rushed straight for the nearest window and smashed his way through the glass. He began to fall and ripped his coat off. At the last minutes he got free and spread his wings and levelled out bare meters above the ground. He flapped and began to gain altitude, listening to the screams of the Director. Gunshots rang out as Reilly flew off, finally free.
But for how long, he thought, and for what price.
The abandoned warehouse was ideal for what I was about to attempt. It was dark, dank, smelly, damp and isolated from civilisation. The only way I could see to destroy the bracelets, was to melt them, but in doing so, I could seriously harm the others. I didn't want to summon the guardian of earth again. He was the one that I lost control to, the one that destroyed part of Eden. I could have used him to break the bracelets easily, but he was so full of rage at the human race, for their disregard towards the planet that sustained them. I know how he feels, but still I fear him. I hoped I could control the power of the spirit I was about to fuse with, otherwise god help those in its way.
"Blaze?" Skye asked, "Are you ok? You look a little pale."
"I'm fine," I replied, "just not looking forward to fusing with a spirit that has more destructive power than the last one I fused with."
"I hope you know what you are doing," Drake said, "I don't fancy dying yet."
"Neither do I," I replied, "Now let's get this started. When I start the fusion, stand at least three meters away from me."
"Why?" asked Skye.
"So if I lose control, you might have a chance to get out of here. It has happened in the past, that's why I hate using my powers. And don't surround me, that just makes it worse."
I just hope that what happened the last time I lost control doesn't happen again. That thought I wanted to forget.
"That's a lot to remember," Drake said.
"It's just precautions in case I lose control," I replied, "Let's get started."
The others backed off to about five meters and I began to steady my breathing into a rhythm, steady and persistent. I focused on the spirits, their energy signatures, and found the ones I wanted, I could always tell them apart. They all had different feeling about them. The spirits of fire always had a smell of ash about them, and they always tended to like being noticed by those who could see them. I focused on one of the spirits, and called to it, for some reason, when I called spirits, they had to come. I called out for it, felt its power and absorbed the power. I immediately felt the changes begin. My body temperature rose a few degrees, hair turned black, eyes red. My wings began to change colour, the pattern of flames spreading across the feathers. My clothes began to smoke, the temperature getting too hot for them to handle. My fingernails turned into claws, not very long, but sharp at any rate. The changes stopped, I still remained mostly human, the spirit must have once been human, but got twisted by his rage. He was surprisingly easy to subdue. I realized that I was kneeling on the ground, the pain of the changes subsiding. That was always the part I hate.
"Blaze?" Skye queried, "Is that you?"
I rose slowly from the ground, my limbs aching from the transformation, my wings included. You would have thought I would have expected that. Each transformation was different depending on the spirit fused with. I ignored Skye's question for the time being as I stretched my limbs. The others were still expecting a reply to Skye's question.
"Yeah," I replied, "It's me, don't worry."
The others relaxed, both physically and mentally. I could tell by the way all their shoulders dropped and by the way they seemed willing to come closer to me.
"How do you know it's a spirit of fire?" Asked Falcon, he had been quiet recently, not speaking much. Sometimes I wondered what was going on in their heads. I didn't bother prying, that would be rude.
"I know it's a spirit of fire," I said temperamentally , "because I can tell the difference between the spirits. I've been hanging around them longer than you have. In fact I don't believe you have ever met a spirit, have you?"
"Alright," Falcon said, holding up his hands in surrender, "no need to blow a gasket. I was only asking."
"I should have gone off my tree at you," I said, "this spirit is overly angry. I suppose that is the reason why it ended up as a fire spirit. Anger, hatred and passion are the three main emotions fire represents. I can tell that this spirit has anger management problems."
"Enough discussion," Drake interrupted, "we need to get these bracelets off of us before the academy figures out we've gone AWOL."
"Fine," I replied, "who wants to go first, mine melted off when I transformed."
The others went quiet. No-one was willing to be the first to test my theory of melting the bracelet off then having Skye healing the burns. I decided to try a little bit of psychology on the others.
"Suit yourself," I said, breaking the silence, "I'm not hanging around with you though. The academy is bound to find you if you keep them on. I don't want to go back there."
"I'll go for it," Skye decided, "Since everyone else here are cowards."
Skye held out her arm to me and revealed the bracelet. I raised my hands and placed them on her wrist wrapping them around the cool metal band. My hands grew hotter, bursting into flames. The metal band began to grow hot under my hand, the metal glowed a dull red colour, then brighter as I increased the temperature. I was trying to focus the fire onto only the bracelet only, to keep from harming Skye too much. She endured the pain. The metal grew white hot, then melted off of her wrist. Most normal humans would have been screaming from the pain. We had endured pain sometimes better, sometimes worse than what was happening now. The bracelet dripped off Skye's arm, leaving a bright pink burn mark. I had managed to keep most of the heat on the bracelet without seriously burning Skye. She placed her hand, glowing white around the burn mark, and healed the burn. The others, once they realized they wouldn't be seriously harmed, decided to go through with it. It was better to put up with a moment of pain, than to get captured and endure a lifetime of pain. After about ten minutes everyone had their bracelets in puddles on the ground and their wounds healed by Skye.
"Blaze," Skye noticed I wasn't looking to well, "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine," I replied, "Just a bit exhausted."
I searched for the power of the spirit within me and found it. It focused on it and de-fused, letting the power drain out of me. My wings returned to their normal colour, hair brightening back to the original brown with streaks of gold through it. My hands returned to normal, claws turning back into fingers and my body temperature dropped back to the normal temperature. I was down on my knees again. I really hate transformations, I thought, they always take so much out of me, and they are painful.
I tried to stand up, to keep myself from collapsing from exhaustion. The world swam and down I went anyway.
Skye watched Blaze out of the corner of her eye. There was something he wasn't telling them. He was looking pale and unwell. She had finished healing the burns on the others and watched as Blaze transformed back to himself. He tried to raise himself off the ground but collapsed, unconscious, on the floor.
"Blaze!" She shouted, "Drake, Blaze has just collapsed."
"Collapsed?" Drake replied, "Why?"
"I don't know," Skye replied.
She bent down aver his face and listened for his breath. He was still breathing, that was a good thing. She tried to wake him, even tried slapping him on the cheek, nothing could wake him.
"What could have made him collapsed?" Drake asked.
"None of us have eaten properly in a while. We have been too busy doing our mission. You know we require more food than normal people."
"Quiet," Terra interrupted, "something is moving outside, I can hear it."
"Can you tell what it is?" Drake asked.
"Yeah, it's humans," Terra said, "wait, that can't be right… Erasers!" She shouted. That got everyone moving. They all moved away from the entrances and circled the unmoving form of Blaze.
"Whatever we do," Drake said, "don't let them take Blaze."
"And I thought your heart was made of Ice." Skye commented back.
"It might be," Drake replied, "I just don't believe in letting one of our kind falls into the hands of the Erasers."
"I agree with you there," Skye said.
The sound of doors breaking bought them back to back to the Erasers smashing their way into the abandoned warehouse. The first came crashing through a broken window, already halfway transformed into a wolf. Drake saw it and began to attack it, keeping it away from Blaze. The second and third managed to smash their way through the metal door and came charging at the others. Terra and Falcon charged back, rapidly giving the two erasers a rapid succession of spin kicks, keeping them busy. They always hunt in a pack of at least four, Skye thought, so where is the last one. She searched around the warehouse, looking for the last Eraser. None of them were ones she recognized from the Academy, although she was certain she had seen them before.
"Skye look out," Drake shouted, an Eraser being strangled in his head lock, "Eraser, behind you."
She twirled around at the last moment to see an Eraser charging at her. It hit her square on before she was able to defend herself, sending her flying into the wall.
The Eraser started laughing. "I thought it would be harder to take you down Skye," The Erasers commented, "considering last time you were quite a handful to take down."
Skye rose up off the ground at the taunting voice of the Eraser.
"If I remember correctly," Skye replied, "You were the one who protected that whitecoat from me, the one that was trying to kill my sister and I. He couldn't wait to dissect us and so picked a fight. I remember your name now… it was Damian."
"Skye, enough talking," Falcon shouted out, "We have a fight on our hands."
"Leave them," Damian ordered, "I've already got the one we need. The director said he only wanted Blaze. We have him."
The other Erasers backed off, but still surrounded the group, preventing them from escaping. Damian picked up Blaze's unconscious form and began to walk out of the warehouse.
"Put him down," Skye's voice commanded.
"Or else what?" Damian replied, "You'll try and hurt me? You tried once; it didn't work out too well."
"Yeah, you attacked me when I was only eight, real brave of you. You're afraid of me now, because I have abilities."
"You only have the ability to heal, that's not going to stop me."
"Try me." With that Skye charged at Damian, using her wings to propel her forwards faster. She hit Damian square in the chest, sending him stumbling backwards. A normal human would have had a few broken bones from an impact like that; Damian was only forced off balance. He stopped himself from falling over and began to charge back at Skye, leaving Blaze lying on the ground. Damian rushed forward, striking at Skye. She blocked all his attacked, her reaction time had quickened.
This is knew, She thought, I can almost see what he is going to do, like I can sense his life force and where it's going to strike next.
Damian kept up his assault, constantly attacking Skye; she constantly blocked them, infuriating Damian even more. He attacked from the left, blocked, attacked from the right, blocked, the he did a feint and pretended to attack from the right and struck from the left, flooring Skye.
"Still no match for me," Damian crowed, overconfident. He failed to notice Skye's wings turning black, blacker than death. She stuck up from the floor, grabbing Damian around the neck, and began to strangle him. At first Damian began to struggle, fighting to get out of Skye's grip. Now he had done it. Her anger got the better of her and her powers activated, but not the ones she knew. Her hands were surrounded by a poison green-black coloured aura. Skye felt power flowing into her, but didn't realize what was going on. Damian began to fight harder against her, trying to break free, veins beginning to show on his face. Finally he went limp in her hands. Skye could feel no pulse on his neck and realized she had killed him; she had drained the life out of him. She had found the other side of her powers. Here wings turned back to white and she dropped Damian's dead body to the ground.
I killed him, Skye thought, I killed Damian, I killed someone.
I don't feel too good, Skye thought suddenly.
She rose up off the ground where she collapsed, rushed over to a corner of the warehouse and began to throw up. The shock of killing someone wears off very quickly. The other Erasers had disappeared a few minutes ago, leaving Blaze behind.
By the looks on their faces, Skye thought still holding her hand to her stomach; they would rather face the Academy's punishment, than face me. I wouldn't blame them.
When she was feeling better, Skye returned to the rest of the flock who were preparing to leave. Drake had Blaze on his back, making sure that he didn't interfere with the wings; they would be able to handle the extra weight.
"You feeling better Skye," Drake asked, "we need to get Blaze away from here before more show up. They probably followed us by tracking the GPS in the bracelets before we melted them."
"I'm fine," Skye replied, "we need to find another place to stay, one that isn't easy to access but would be fine for us to get to."
"You mean like a cave on a rock face?" Falcon asked.
"Yeah," Skye replied, "something like that would be nice."
"Then we better get started," Drake said.
Drake went to the now smashed doorway and spreading his wings, pushed off from the ground and became airborne. Skye followed him out, spreading her wings to catch the wind and lifted off the ground. Slowly rising into the air, Skye looked around to see Terra and Falcon following close behind. She noticed that Falcon had a cut above his temple that was bleeding lightly and Terra had a slash mark on her right shoulder.
We were lucky that was all we got, Skye thought, it could have been much worse.
A few minutes later, they were travelling over a forest heading out towards the shore line, the ocean not quite in sight yet. Skye rode a thermal up higher and folded her wings back. She closed her eyes and let herself drop, feeling the rush of wind through her hair and feathers. Skye felt the breeze against her skin, relaxing her, freeing her from her recent memories for a brief moment in time. Trusting instinct, Skye spread her wings and felt the brush of trees against her wingtips, feeling the thrill of a near fatal collision. Opening her eyes, she was greeted by a sea of green. A sight she thought she would never see under the true warmth of the suns rays. She thought she would never be free of the Academy, now she finally was but she didn't know how long it would last before eventually someone else would die. The images of Damian's lifeless body entered her mind again but she blocked them out.
Skye saw a glint of light out of the corner of her eye and twisted her head to get a better view. The glistening waves of the ocean greeted her eyes. Above the waves, slightly inland a flock of birds, actual birds, flew in a loose formation, hunting for food. Along the shoreline over to the right of the flying birds was a small mountain range, littered with holes, caves that they could hide in until they had some sort of plan, because without one they would be captured again, that was for certain.
Skye watched Blaze's unmoving from. He had been unconscious for just under twelve hours. The Eraser attack was just after dawn, so it would be approximately around six seven at night, the sun was still up, daylight saving hadn't finished so they still had a few hours left of light. Terra and Drake had left to scavenge for food, hoping to find something to keep the group alive for a while longer.
Their heightened metabolisms were both a blessing and a curse. They allowed quick healing of wounds as well as the strength to fly, but the problem was more food was required to maintain the energy levels. Skye was worried about Blaze, while he was unconscious; Blaze would not require much food to maintain his energy levels, but even so, he would require food in the next few hours, otherwise he might never wake up. Skye walked over and knelt next to Blaze. She brushed a stand of his brown streaked hair off of his face, he was cold, his body temperature had dropped lower than it should be. He looks so peaceful, Skye thought, will we all look like that one day, when we are ready to leave this world? Skye gazed at Blaze, she felt attracted towards him, she would admit that, but now wasn't the time to be thinking about things like that. Even so Skye stayed by his side while she waited for Drake and Terra's return from their scavenge for food.
I was walking down a dimly lit corridor, somewhere deep underground. I was walking along a steel catwalk, yet I was making no sound, even when my feet touched the metal catwalk. It was as if I was there but I wasn't. An ice blue light glowed from the walls, giving the installation a creepy feeling about it. I looked around and saw I was in a narrow corridor, two tubes full of a pale blue liquid travelled along the wall; the flow of the liquid was going to my right, so I followed it.
I walked down the corridor, not a single sound was being made. It was like the place was deserted. I walked down the seemingly endless corridor, keeping an eye out for a doorway, corridor, anything that would lead me to a different place to where I am now. I heard the sound of an Iron door being opened. I twirled around and watched in horror as a whitecoat walked out into the corridor and headed in my direction. I looked for somewhere to hide but it was too late. They would see me. The white coat looked up and continued walking as if he couldn't see me. He came closer and closer, we were going to hit each other. Next thing I knew was he was walking right through me.
How the heck did that happen? I thought, I'm not dead am I?
I followed the whitecoat down the corridor. After about five minutes we stopped at a huge bulkhead door, one you would see in a bunker or something. The whitecoat pulled out a pass key and entered it into the electronic lock on the door. A hissing sound followed the insertion of the key, and the door began to open, a white mist spreading from the doorway. I noticed the whitecoat pulled on a mask from hooks next to the door, a sign above it saying 'warning, cryonic area, mask required.'
Cryonic area? I thought, a frozen room? What do they need that for?
I walked into the room after the whitecoat. The fine white mist was all around us in here. I could see little icicles growing off of outcrops in the wall. The air full of small frozen particles of water, an atmosphere that was deadly for most people, it would freeze your lungs in a matter of seconds. The whitecoat with the mask walked into a circular room with five tanks in the centre.
"How are the experiments doing?" The whitecoat shouted through his mask into the fog.
"Surprisingly well considering that they are being kept in this frozen environment," A voice shouted back from the fog.
"It's kept cold so that their state of mind doesn't get interrupted," The first whitecoat said, "they need to stay in the cyber world, we can't have them gaining consciousness can we?"
I listened to their conversation as I walked around the chamber, the tanks were the main feature, there were five of them, all hooked up to a series of wires and computer systems. I took a closer look at the tanks. They were filled with the same pale ice blue liquid I had seen in the corridor. I tried to wipe the frost away from the tanks to find my hand went right through the glass. I could just make out a figure inside the tank. The figure had wings like us experiments. I explored the other tanks to find that each had a similar figure in the tank. All the tanks had experiments like us in them, people with wings. I walked over to the last tank, the one in the centre of the other four. On the tank was a sign that said 'NEXUS control.' This tank was larger than the others and had more wires connected to it than the others. I could see a figure inside this tank as well. I placed my head up to the glass, not quite going through it. I could sense who it was. Flame was the figure inside the tank.
How did she end up here? I thought. Then a voice entered my head.
I awoke to the twilight of the setting sun's last rays shining into the cave.
Cave? I thought, how did I end up in a cave?
I looked around the cave slowly, my head still hurting from hitting the floor.
How long has it been since I passed out and my head still hurts?
The cave was pretty spacious, large enough for the entire group to have some privacy from each other. I sat up and felt the blanket wrapped around me, it was wrapped tight, constricting my wings. At first I began to panic, a natural instinct reaction to the situation. The more I struggled, the more I found the blanket came loose. It was not meant to keep me from flying, but to keep me warm. I stood up on uneasy legs, walked slowly to the opening of the cave and looked out upon the setting sun, feeling the rays of light warm me. I walked outside the cave and found that I was on a ledge hanging from a steep mountain side.
This is definitely a safe place, I thought, I wonder who found it. I sat on the edge and pulled out my journal and pencil and began to write.
Journal Entry 5: It has been a long time since I wrote in here. My life has been turned upside down. I don't know what to think about life anymore. Is it really worth living when you are being hunted like an animal? I'm going too far into the negative side of life. I'm still trying to figure out what my dream/vision was all about. Too many questions and not enough answers. I'm fed up with living in the dark, why is it that we experiments are always the last to know things? We are people. Another thought, why do I keep referring to us as the others or the experiments? Mental note to self: figure out a better name for our kind.
The sign keeps bothering m, the one that was on Flame's tank. NEXUS control. I knew Flame was able to control technology with her mind, but being able to enter cyberspace as a conscious being? I couldn't believe it. The conversation I overheard helped me understand what was going on. They were keeping Flame and the other four in cyberspace for an undetermined time. I wanted to know what they wanted to find out and why they were keeping them in cyberspace. Argh, these thoughts are going to drive me insane sometime in the near future. I can tell.
The cave we are staying in will come in handy if we wish to hide from the Erasers. Thankfully they can't climb in wolf form, and we would be able to hear them in human form. The problem would be food. My stomach is already telling me it's hungry. How are we going to get food without the humans seeing us? Steal it? Scavenge food from bins? Our Life was going to only get tougher. We could survive it, if we stay together. Again my thoughts return to Skye. Since our first meeting, I had had feelings for her. Now since I had gotten to know her my feelings for her had grown.
I stopped writing as a shadow loomed over me.
"Nice to see you up," Skye said from behind me, "what are you doing?"
Skye leaned over my shoulder to get a closer look at my journal; her hair brushed my face, sweet smelling and soft. I closed my journal, not wanting her to read my private thoughts.
"I'm writing in my journal," I replied, "I didn't see you when I got up, where were you?"
"I must have fallen asleep," Skye replied. She sat down on the ledge next to me, watching the sunset. "I was worried about you," She continued, "you're our leader, the one that has kept us alive long enough to see this. Blaze… I… I…"
She blushed and hid her face behind her curtain of golden hair.
Stuff this. I had picked up on Skye's thoughts accidentally.
I turned to her slowly, knowing that she felt a little uncomfortable. I was getting the feeling that whatever she was about to tell me wasn't easy to just come out with.
Suddenly she leaned in and kissed me on the lips. I pulled back in surprise, as this was not what I was expecting. Skye looked embarrassed. I think she took my surprise to be something else.
"I'm sorry," Skye apologised, "I should go."
As she was getting up I reached out and grabbed her wrist pulling her back, pulling her close to me. Before she could protest or know what was going on, I kissed her back passionately on the lips. She hesitated at first maybe thinking I would pull away and say this was all a mistake, but gradually she relaxed and started to kiss me back.
As we parted I whispered softly into her ear. "Do you know how long I have wanted to do that?"
Skye's cheeks blushed crimson at that comment; I pulled her close and kissed her again. Suddenly out of the blue we heard the sound of someone clearing their throat. We broke our kiss and turned our heads to see Falcon standing there with an armful of firewood…
"Are you guys going to help me with this firewood?" Falcon asked, "Or continue kissing each other?" Flacon asked with humour in his eyes, as he heaved the pile of firewood into the cave. Skye and I started laughing as he walked passed us. He was taking this pretty lightly.
"Aren't you surprised at all with this?" I asked, lifting part of the firewood pile into the cave.
"Not really," Falcon replied, "You two always seemed to like each others company. Skye was actually worried about you too. That was a big give away. You weren't as easy to figure out." I laughed again at this comment.
"I'm used to hiding my emotion," I finally said, catching my breath, "I keep all my personal thoughts in my journal, that's why I'm so hard to figure out."
"Really?" Skye asked playfully, "Then let's have a look shall we?"
I glanced over to where Skye was to find she was holding my journal.
"Hey," I shouted, "give that back. I'm telling you to give that back."
I rushed over and tried to get my journal back. We tumbled around, falling over each other in a mock fight as I tried to get the journal back from her.
"Hey Falcon!" Skye shouted, "Catch!"
She threw my journal to Falcon. I chased him around the cave as he read out my private thoughts about Skye as she sat on the ground listening to my thoughts about her, blushing when I said something nice, pretending offence when I mentioned a bad habit, like she fiddles with her hair when she's bored. We had a great time. For once in our lives we forgot about our worries and were truly happy. Even if the jokes on me. That illusion was soon broken. Falcon looked up at me from the journal. I snatched it out of his hands and saw he was on the page I had just finished writing. Skye must have sensed something was wrong because she came up to me and snuggled into me.
"Blaze," Falcon said, "When were you going to tell us about your dream?"
"I would have told you when everyone was here." I replied.
"What dream?" Skye asked puzzled.
I handed her my journal and she read the entry about what I had seen. About the tanks and the cryonic room. About Flame in the tank labelled NEXUS control. Skye's face was shocked so I pulled her close and held her.
"I have to do something to help her." I said, "She's my sister, Skye. She needs my help."
"I understand Blaze," Skye answered after a moment of silence, "I have a sister as well. But what can we do? You don't even know the location of the place. We need to make a plan first."
"I know Skye," I replied, "I know."
We sat down next to the fire that Flacon had set up and let ourselves get warm as the sun set below the horizon. A few minutes later I heard the flap of wings outside the cave. Drake and Terra had returned with the food. It was time to fill them in.
My stomach growled, reminding that I hadn't eaten anything in the last twelve hours. I would have to fill them in after I had something to eat.
"Anyone order take out?" Drake shouted from the entrance of the cave.
"About time you got here," I shouted back, "we're all starving here."
"Then imagine how hungry we are," Drake shouted back, "considering we were running for our lives while you took a nice long nap."
"Alright, alright I give up," I called back, "no need to rub it in my face."
Drake and Terra walked into the cave carrying armfuls of food, ranging from fruits and berries to partially eaten burger, most likely scavenged from bins in a nearby town.
Drake and Terra placed the food down on the ground near the fire and sorted it out into even groups of the food they had found. We all took our share of the food and sat down by the fire to eat it. We all finished eating our food a few minutes later, our hunger kept at bay for the time being.
"So," Drake asked, "What are we going to do now? I mean, we can't exactly hide out here for the rest of our lives. There are others that need to be set free."
Everyone was silent as they thought about what Drake had just said.
Blaze, Skye's thoughts entered my head, you should tell them about your dream.
I was just thinking about doing that, I replied, I mean, they need to know about that place anyway. It's connected to us kids from the Academy, somehow I know it.
Terra noticed the look of concentration on my face as well as Skye's and guessed what we were doing.
"What are you guys keeping from us?" Terra asked, interrupting our mental conversation.
Looks like this is the moment of truth, I thought.
"While I was unconscious," I explained, "I had a… an out of body experience."
"What do you mean?" Drake asked.
"While I was unconscious, I sort of became separated from my body." I continued, "My consciousness somehow ended up in another installation run by whitecoats."
"Which one?" Drake asked.
"If I knew I wouldn't be here," I replied.
"Why?" Terra questioned me.
"Because my sister is being held there," I answered truthfully.
"What!" Both Drake and Terra chimed in at once.
"This is too hard to explain," I continued, picking up my journal from the ground nearby,
"Read the last entry in here apart from the last two paragraphs."
"What is it?" Drake asked.
"My journal," I explained
Drake raised an eyebrow at that, but didn't ask any questions, which was smart of him. I wasn't really in the mood to answer heaps of questions.
We all sat in silence as Drake and Terra read my journal entry. Falcon and Skye had already seen it.
"So you learnt all that from your 'out of body' experience?" Drake asked
"Pretty much," I replied
"So what is the plan?" Falcon asked.
"I don't know," I sighed, "we need information, a location, something. But before we get into that, we need to be able to walk about amongst people without standing out. We need to blend in."
"And how do you plan to do that considering we have great big wings sticking out of our backs?"
"That's the easy part."
"What do you mean Blaze?" Skye asked. I hadn't covered this part of my idea with Skye and Flacon.
"While watching Reilly back at the academy," I explained, "I learnt a neat little trick. Dr Reilly was able to hide his wings quite well from us when we first met him. I watched how he folded his wings against his body. There is a little trick that allows you to fold your wings flat against your back like this."
I spread my wings out and then folded them up against my back pressing them into the small of my back along my spine.. I then got the top of my wings and pressed them against my shoulders, totally blending my wings into my back. The others looked on as my wings disappeared from sight.
"Impressive," Falcon complimented me, "But they would still be visible from the back."
"Not if you are wearing a cloak," I replied, "They will allow you to hide your wings, but are easy to discard if we need to make a quick get-a-way."
"That could possibly work. You seem to have thought this through quite a bit." Drake complimented me.
"Yeah, I try to stay one step ahead. The next thing we must do is assume aliases, different identities to go by when out in civilisation. The first lesson we learnt was to always remain unseen and unheard. Remain out of sight. What better way than to remain in plain sight?" I replied.
"Not such a great idea. What if the Erasers come here and recognize us?" Terra pointed out.
"That is why we must always be ready to leave, never get attached to anything. We'll use our Wrist pilots to create the identities, bank accounts and the history of our aliases. We need full cover to remain unseen." I answered, "Another issue we have is what we call ourselves."
"We already covered this, we are creating aliases, unless…" Skye asked, she could tell I had something up my sleeve.
"The whitecoats call us either subject such-and-such or experiment such-and-such. We keep calling ourselves, The Others. What happens if the world does find out about us? We need a name for our race, our kind." I replied.
"I see what you mean, but do you think it would really come to that?" Skye asked, "I mean will it really come to the world finding out about us?"
"It is a possibility. I would prefer to remain in the shadows, but if worst comes to worst, we need a name for our race." I continued.
"Got any suggestions?" Drake asked.
"How about the Avianis race?" Skye
"Too scientific," Flacon said, "how about the Bird-men?"
"Reminds me of a comic strip hero," Terra said, "How about Angels?"
"That won't work," I interrupted, "Angels are seen as religious icons to many different religions across the word, and it could cause problems claiming we are something we're not"
"That makes perfect sense but what are we going to call ourselves?" Drake asked.
"How about the Angelan race?" I suggested.
"But it is too close to Angel. Wouldn't that cause problems as well?"
"What I was thinking about when I created that name was the mixture of Angel and human. The one 'race' between god and humans are angels. And since we are not entirely human and resemble angels. It would make sense to combine the two together. The whitecoats call us the next step in evolution for humans."
"Quite an impressive explanation," Drake said, "but how do you know all this stuff?"
"Let's just say, having a sister that can manipulate technology with her mind, can come in handy for you pick up a few skills." I answered.
"Like what?" Drake interrogated me.
"We'll," I drawled, "I'm experienced in hacking. I was able to gain access to the academy's mainframe. That is why I know so much."
"You never told us that! Ah well I suppose now or never right?" Falcon exclaimed.
"Yep. We better get started with these personalized Id's." I said finishing the conversation.
I awoke to sound of eagles screeching outside of the cave as they searched for prey in the forest below. It was early morning and we had spent most of the night setting up our personal files for the aliases we would be going by. We would be completing the final touches this morning. The others had given me a list of the names they would be using and they were giving me the written files to place in the world database. The world database had been established back in 2015. It was a system that had every single person sorted in the database excluding those that 'live off the grid'. Living off the grid was what we were doing, keeping hidden from the world. All we needed to do was to insert our files into the database with our background history and we could be legal citizens. The list of names was written on a scrap of paper I had torn out of the back of my journal. It read:
Blaze Nathaniel Corway
Drake Daniel Andrews
Falcon Tobias Kane
Skye Danielle Robinson
Terra Amber Robinson
Flame Serena Corway
I had placed Flame's name on the list in case we got her out of the installation and needed to go undercover. I went out and sat on the edge of 'the shelf' as we had gotten to calling it, and hooked up my WP onto the net. The World Database could be accessed via the World Registration Agency website. The WRA website had security that was more intense than the FBI or the CIA because it had information on every living human on earth except for those that decided to live 'off the grid'. People who's location, occupation and criminal record were unknown.. I loaded up the WRA website and started working my magic. Within minutes I was into the mainframe. The rest of the flock were just waking up from their deep slumber and stumbled out to give me their finished files to upload onto the net.
We worked throughout the morning uploading our alternate lives onto the WRA website and then sorting out our bank accounts. Our funds came from small withdrawals out of other businesses that could afford to lose the money. We each had a couple of thousand dollars in our accounts for us to take care of. I could always access the financial web to create transfer more funds into our account. But that would make life too easy. After I had finished setting up the intricate network of connections to each and every person, we created our ID cards and banking cards to use in the world. Even though we had not been in the real world, we knew how to drive a vehicle. None of us liked being in the cramped confines of a car, but if it kept us hidden we would do it. It had been an exhausting morning but finally we had finished. The others walked back into the cave and left me on the ledge. I stood up and enjoyed the view when the others came rushing out shouting and screaming in disbelief.
"Alright everyone, quieten down," I shouted over the group, "What is the problem."
"They read the rest of the journal entry," Flacon explained, "the last two paragraphs."
"You have feelings for Skye?" Drake asked in total disbelief, "you are actually capable of feeling emotion? I think I might die of a heart attack."
"Drake catch up with the times," Skye said as she walked over to me and cuddled into me, "We are already together."
"Last night," Falcon explained, "I walked in on them kissing." He said the last word while making a funny face that had us laughing with stitches in our sides. All except Terra, she was quiet and hung at the back of the group. She seemed to be put out by the news. I pointed it out to Skye and she said she would have a talk to Terra, leaving me with the others while they made jokes about me and Skye. I didn't pay attention, Terra looked like she had lost a best friend, and I think she was worried about losing her sister… to me.
"We will need food and equipment to survive on the run, as well as getting rid of these weapons." I said after a moments of joking around, brining everyone back to the current situation.
"Why would we need to get rid of the weapons?" Falcon asked, "What's wrong with keeping them?"
"They are not easy to hide and people ask questions when you carry big guns around." I replied, "And I need to gain access to a more powerful mainframe."
"What for?" Drake asked.
"So I can figure out where Flame is being held," I replied
"So what are we going to do?" Falcon asked.
"We'll split into two groups," I explained, "The first group will use the money in their accounts to buy food and jackets, cloaks, the second group, which I will lead, will dump our weapons and maybe get some new ones. I will then search for a larger mainframe to access."
"So what group is the question now, isn't it," Drake said
"I'll be going with Blaze," Skye answered, appearing back after talking to Terra.
"And I will as well," Terra said
"No way," Drake replied, "what happens if they manage to catch you? What happens when the Erasers find you? Three of us will be taken, not two. Terra will come with us."
"I see your point Drake," I replied, "but really the answer is up to Terra."
"I will be going with Blaze," Terra said. The decision had been made.
A few minutes later we were all ready to fly to town and get the stuff we needed. I had packed all our weapons into my back pack and had got a map of the nearby town and the location of all the shops. I had planned any needed escape routes that wouldn't expose what we were to the human race, but if worse came to worse; we could fly out of there.
"Ready everyone?" I asked.
A chorus of yes's answered my question. We were all ready to go do what we needed to do. I ran out of the cave and jumped off the shelf, spreading my wings as I did so, so that I could catch the wind as I fell off the cliff. My wings picked up the breeze and lifted me up into the air. The feeling of flying is extraordinary, I pity the humans stuck on earth below. The thrill of having the air rush through your hair and feathers feels so cleansing. I took a deep breath of fresh, crisp air and began to fly off in the direction I needed to go, Skye and Terra following me. Drake and Falcon went in the direction they needed to go. I flew on for about five, maybe ten minutes before I reached the outskirts of my section of the town. As I saw the buildings come into I began to descend into an alleyway between two of the buildings. As I hit the ground running from my momentum, I grabbed my cloak from out of my backpack and put it on to hide my wings which were folded into my back. We had practiced that until everyone was an expert at it. I made sure Skye and Terra had their wings hidden and walked around the corner of the building… and into the crowd of people walking along the footpath. No-one noticed us; we were just three normal teenagers to them.
We walked quickly down the footpath, wanting to get in and out without a fuss and remain unseen. After a five minute walk we reached the street that had the guns shop on it and walked up to the shop. In the window there were a range of weapons that I thought would be far too bulky to come in handy any day, not that we were buying any. I walked into the shop, Skye and Terra staying outside to keep an eye out for any trouble while I did the drop off. I looked around at the shelves of guns all over the place. They had rifles and handguns, boxes of bullets and even some old-fashioned western revolvers.
I went to the back of the shop and placed the guns down there. We didn't need to sell them for money; it might raise a few questions. I walked out of the shop. No-one had noticed me enter or leave, and they sure didn't notice I left with my backpack less full than when I entered; it was when I walked out onto the street that I had problems. Two police cars had pulled up in front of the shop. The cops were hiding behind the doors as if afraid someone would shoot them. I realized they were pointing their guns at Skye, Terra and I.
Oh boy… we're in trouble now, I thought.
"Drop the weapons and put your hands up in the air," A cop shouted, "We will shoot if you don't comply."
"I don't have any guns," I shouted back, placing my hands in the air. This was difficult because to do so, my wings had to unfurl a small amount. Barely noticeable, but if they decided to search us for weapons, we would be very unlucky.
The cops rushed forwards and arrested us, thankfully not bothering to do a search. We were lucky. They read us our rights, although I wonder if Angelan had any rights in human society. They cuffed us and placed us in the back of a police cruiser. The cops got in the front and drove us downtown to the police station. We were in big trouble. I had to find out why.
"Why are we being arrested?" I asked the cop in the front.
"Like you don't know," The cop replied, "we have composite sketched of you guys from witnesses that say they saw you the night Senator Johnson was killed. How do you explain that?"
Senator Johnson killed? I pondered this and came up with a conclusion; they were trying to get us back any way possible…
The cops led us to separate interrogation rooms to question us. We were all too shocked to try and escape. The senator had ended up dead anyway. That meant there were other experiments being forced to do what we had been forced to, or otherwise they had been fed the same lot of lies we had. Reilly would pay for all of this, one way or another.
The police had left me alone in the room, so I looked around. The room walls of the room were plain white, reminding me of the labs I had grown up in, and the only objects in the room were a table, two chairs, a security camera and one of those mirrored walls, the ones you always see in the movies, the one the cops always stand behind and watch the interrogation. How typical. I waited for about ten, twenty minutes before finally the door opened and a guy wearing a black suit, white shirt and a black tie, walked in.
Oh goody, I thought, they've already bought in the big guns.
The guy watched me, took in every detail of my appearance. I stared back at him, analysing him by the way he sat, the way he observed me. This was a no nonsense kind of guy. Someone who was used to getting his own way, no matter what it took. Finally he broke the silence.
"Nathaniel," He called me by my alias, which seemed to be working, "Do you know why you are here?"
"Apparently I killed Senator Johnson," I replied sarcastically.
"Would that be a confession?" The guy asked.
"Of course not," I answered, keeping my voice flat, "I had nothing to do with the Senators death."
"Do not lie to me, punk," The guy shouted, "We have a witness saying you were there!"
"Have you bothered to check the credibility of your witness?" I asked.
The door opened again and in walked another cop. The two of them held a whispered conversation that I couldn't be bothered listening in on. A few minutes later the first person left, leaving me with the new cop.
"My name is Agent Thompson," The cop said, "Now Nathaniel; can you tell me anything about why you killed Senator Johnson?"
I had enough. I stood up abruptly, upending my chair and slammed my fist down on the table. The mirrored wall cracked as I lost control of my Telekinesis.
I quickly got my Telekinesis under control. There was no need to kill people, even those who knew nothing about what was really going on in the world. I reached down, picked up my chair and sat back don on it, pretending nothing had happened. Agent Thompson looked at me a little shocked. This was a first to him. I decided to take it easy on him.
"I'll talk to you," I said, "Only if I get to meet you so called witness."
Agent Thompson regained his composure.
"I'm sorry Nathaniel; I am not allowed to give you that privilege." He replied
"Then you won't get anything out of me," I replied, "You can try any method of torture on me; nothing could be as bad as what I have already gone through."
"I'll see what I can do." Thompson replied.
He rose up off his chair and walked out of the room. While I waited for him I pulled a feather off of my coat that had come loose from my wing. The camera in the room was busted because of my outburst and the people behind the glass would be gone, scared I would smash it again. I hid the feather up my sleeve and awaited Thompson's return. A few minutes later he returned.
"Come with me," He ordered, "You're allowed five minutes with the witness."
I stood up and walked out of the interrogation room. Thompson led me down a maze of corridors until we reached a waiting room. Thompson opened the door and walked me into the room. Sitting behinds the desk was a kid, about the age of fourteen. He had black mop like hair and was wearing a cloak like I was. I didn't need that to tell me what he was… he was an Angelan like me.
"That's the guy," The kid said to Thompson, "that's the one I saw."
"Who put you up to this?" I asked the kid, "As if I can't guess."
The kid was beginning to look scared.
"You don't understand," He said "They threatened to kill me unless I helped."
I realized that he was trying to help me by putting on an act, helping me without disobeying orders.
"So you decide to sell out one of your own kind," I shouted, "So that you could stay alive! How could you sell out one of your own kind?"
I slammed my fist down on the table. Something I had been doing lately. But I couldn't let Thompson see the feather. As I slammed down my fist on the table, I released the feather from my sleeve and let it fly towards the kid. He saw it and caught it, hiding it from Thompson. Keeping the act up… keeping Thompson in the dark.
"I'm through here," I said, "take me back."
Terra sat alone in the bleak, white interrogation chamber. The cops had already come in and questioned her, but she had remained silent, even in the face of all their threats. They said she was an accomplice to murder.
This is your fault, Blaze, She thought, it was your plan to come into town. We would have been safe living in the cave.
Terra knew it wasn't Blaze's fault. She was still holding a grudge towards both Blaze and Skye. She was feeling left out, alone. Blaze had taken away the only thing she had, her sister. Skye had also betrayed her trust. They were sisters, Skye had promised to look after her, ever since she found out Terra was her sister. How could she, now that she was spending most of her time with Blaze.
Relationships stuff everything up, Terra thought; I hope I don't end up in one. Without Skye, I don't have anyone. Skye is my only family...and he took that away from me. He took her away from me.
Terra slammed her fists down on the table. She was so confused. She didn't know what to think anymore. Skye and Blaze getting together had torn everything apart. Terra had thought that it was always going to be just her and Skye.
How naïve can I get, Terra thought, to think it would remain only Skye and I. I just wish life was normal, that we were normal. Like that's ever going to happen.
Terra leaned back on her chair and closed her eyes; her mind was a whirling hurricane of confusion. She didn't know what to think anymore.
Life is confusing, Terra thought, why can't it just be simple?
Her thoughts were disrupted by a slight tremor running through the walls. Dust fell from the roof and coated everything in the room, including her. A minute later the door opened and the cop that had questioned her earlier walked in. Round two was about to begin.
"Your friend in the room next door has quite a temper," The cop stated, "it's a pity that he is not going to tell us anything. Maybe you will."
"I won't tell you anything," Terra replied, "I am not going to betray him or my sister to the likes of you!"
"The likes of me?" The cop asked, "What do you mean by that?"
"The ignorant ones. People who have no understanding about what is really going on," Terra explained, "at least my family and I know what's really going on. You live a lie; and you are so close-minded that you only see what you want to."
"And what do you mean by that?" The cop asked, getting pushy.
"I'm not going to tell you anything about us or what we do," Terra said, "the law won't help you. Not for what is coming."
"For what's coming? You are beginning to sound like a little terrorist. Is that what you are your so called 'family' are? Is that what the law can't protect us from?"
Terra snorted. "Do I honestly look like a terrorist to you?"
"You sure sound like it," the cop Replied
"Yeah, well, you're not too far off yourself," she said smartly. Boy, this guy was really started to get under her skin.
"Stop messing around, Girl," The cop said, raising his voice slightly, "stop speaking in riddles and tell us what you know about Senator Johnson's death?"
"Absolutely nothing," Terra replied, "I don't know what you are talking about."
Thompson took me to a new interrogation chamber, one that I hadn't busted up, and sat me down on the chair behind the table, Thompson right behind me. I prepared myself for the next round of questioning. It didn't come. I waited in silence, watching Thompson, reading his body language. There was something bothering him, but I couldn't tell what. I was about to break one of the rules I had set myself. I used my telepathy to read his mind.
They were acting, Thompson's thoughts entered my mind, there is something that they aren't telling me. It has something to do with that feather; it was too large to be a normal bird's feather.
He knew about the feather, he had seen it, and now the questions would begin. I thought quickly about stories to tell him, but there was nothing that could be believable. I was out of time.
"Nathan," Thompson asked, "what was that feather? The one you gave our witness? I could tell by the size of it that it wasn't normal. It's about time you talked to me."
"Turn off the camera," I ordered. "All the people behind the glass walk out. Only you and me, understood?"
Thompson walked out of the room to talk to his superiors, a few minutes passed and he came back.
"They have agreed, as long as I fill them in on what you said." Thompson explained.
"It would be better if they didn't find out about what I'm going to tell you. I'm putting my life and the life of the others in your hands by telling you this."
"I have to fill them in," Thompson said, "It's my job."
I stood up and thumped the table hard with my fist, breaking it in two; the movement forced me to move my wings, fluttering the cape a small amount.
"What was that?" Thompson asked, noticing the movement on my back. He began to move towards me.
"Nothing," I lied, "it was nothing."
"It looked like you had something hidden under you cape. What is it you're afraid to tell us?" Thompson asked, genuinely concerned.
"Not tell you. It's what we're afraid to show you." I replied.
"And that is…?" Thompson asked.
"Can I trust you not to tell anyone?" I had to know.
Thompson sighed. "This is going to cost me my job." He said, "Fine, I won't tell anyone."
I pulled the cloak off my back and threw it onto the chair. Then I did something I had hoped it would never come to. I spread my wings out and revealed them to Thompson… a human.
He just stared at me in shock, not registering that I was a kid... with wings. I hoped I had done the right thing.
I stood there with my wings in their normal folded state. Thompson sat staring at me like he was unable to believe any of it, yet here I was standing in front of him, a kid with wings. After a while it finally sunk in, he was staring at a kid with wings.
"Are they real?" Thompson asked, breaking the silence.
"If I can move them," I replied, "they are real."
"I'm just finding this hard to believe." He said, "I mean it's not every day you see a teenage kid with wings."
"You wanted answers to your questions," I replied, "for me to give you the answers; I would have to tell you the complete story."
"The complete story?" Thompson asked, "What do you mean by that?"
I sighed; this was going to take a long time. I sat back down again, wrapping my cloak around me, hiding my wings again. I didn't want anyone to walk in and see them. I could see Thompson was relieved as well. He must have been thinking the same thought.
"So tell me your story," Thompson said.
"You promise not to tell anyone?" I asked, "It could result in your early retirement. The six foot under kind."
"You mean people are being killed to keep all of this a secret?" Thompson asked.
"Unfortunately yes. My mother was an 'unfortunate accident'" I said, "and that is where my story begins."
I began my story by telling him about my mother, Maximum Ride, about how she was one of the first, how she had escaped and was then killed. I explained to him, how they used the DNA of two of those experiments to create me. I then went on to tell him about my life in Eden and then on to the academy. Each time I told him a part of my life, his face grew grimmer. He couldn't believe this was going on. I continued my story, telling him about the master plan they had to use us to eliminate resistance to the new world and allow them to bring the Angelan race into the world.
"Angelan race?" Thompson interrupted, "is that what you call yourself?"
"Yeah," I replied, "we were sick of being called experiments, it was degrading and we didn't like the label of The Others, so we came up with a unique name to call our selves."
"That makes sense," Thompson, said, "continue the story."
I continued. I told him how we were sent out to kill the person that killed my parents. I told him my suspicions that that was only a ploy to get us in the area of Senator Johnson's house, so that we would be assigned to kill him. How we came close to killing him, but didn't. Then I told him about the Erasers and how since then we had been on the run from them, just trying to stay one step ahead of them to survive.
"And that is when we came into town to dispose of the guns." I finished, "that was when you caught us. My guess is that they created the story about the Senators death and blamed it on us, when they were the ones who organised it. The witness in the other room is one of us, most likely frightened into doing the academy's bidding by threats of being killed."
Thompson, sat there think about what I had just said. After a few minutes he asked me one question I didn't have an answer to.
"What are you going to do now?"
What are you going to do now? That was the million dollar question. I knew I had to find Flame, she was my sister. The only problem was, I had no way of locating where that lab that I saw was.
"I told you that I had a sister," I said, "and I also told you she was taken away from me three years ago."
"Yes, you did explain that," Thompson said, "is that what you're trying to do? Are you trying to find your sister?"
"Yeah, I am," I replied, "this part of my story may be hard to believe, but all of us have unique gifts."
"Define gifts," Thompson said.
"We have powers that can't be explained. I can move objects with my mind, Telekinesis I believe you people call it," I said, "The others have other unique powers. Terra can control plants, rocks, anything to do with the earth. Skye can heal people. We all have unique gifts."
"Wow," Thompson exclaimed, "That's… that's pretty impressive."
"Flame was able to control technology. I was able to make contact with her using my ability and found out they have her hidden in a bunker, locked in a cool room, keeping their minds inside a computer system."
"Whoa, did you say they were keeping the minds in a computer system?" Thompson asked, "That's a bit far-fetched don't you think?"
"Trust me, it's real. I've trusted you so far, and you have trusted me," I said, "now I need your help."
"I like you kid," Thompson said, "if worst came to worst, I would fight with you in a war."
"Don't say that, Thompson," I said, "because if this ever got public, that might be what it leads to. People would be split, some choosing our side, some would want our deaths. As sad as it is to say, we aren't welcome on earth. Humans don't like sharing."
Thompson sighed, "There is a lot of truth in that statement. I'll see if I can clear your name for you."
"Thanks," I said, "but that wasn't what I was going to ask you. I was going to ask you to track down any large orders of substances like Liquid Nitrogen or oxygen, or if you could find out anything about old military bases that have been activated recently."
"Doing that could raise a few eyebrows, Nathan," Thompson said, "if that happens it might go public about your kind."
"Then At least get me access to a powerful computer system," I pleaded, "that's all I require."
"I'll see what I can do," was all Thompson said, "But don't count on anything, your stretching your luck as it is."
"And Thompson..." I said, "Thanks."
Thompson walked down the corridor to his office.
No matter how many times I think about it, Thompson thought, I just can't believe it. Sure the kid called Nathan was nice, I really would help him out, but it's the wings I can't get over.
Thompson reached his office and walked in, closing the door behind him. He sat down at his desk and rested his head on his hands. His mind was a bit unresponsive; it was still getting over the shock of seeing two people with wings in one day that had him like this.
"Did you do what I asked Thompson?" A figure asked from the shadowed corner of his office.
"I did as you asked;" Thompson asked, "I gave him my co-operation, it could cost me my job."
"Did he show you his wings?" The shadowed figure asked.
"Yes, he did." Thompson replied, "I'm still trying to get my head around it, it's still a bit impossible to believe that people could have wings."
"Hmmmm, this is interesting," The shadowed figure thought out loud, "Nathan has never willingly shown anyone his wings, unless it is to one of his own kind."
"Dr Reilly," Thompson said, "could you tell me how you got your wings? Maybe it will help make sense of things; to understand the whole picture of what's really going on. It might actually convince me this is reality, because I still think I'm dreaming."
"You want to know if you are dreaming or not?" Reilly said, "This is reality, this is the truth. If you preferred, I could make you forget everything. But before you say anything, what was it Nathan asked for?"
"He wanted to see if I could find out about any shipments of substances like liquid Nitrogen or Oxygen or to find out about any old military bases that had been started up again. Otherwise he wants access to a powerful computer system."
"I see. He is searching for her, for Flame," Reilly responded as though he were in a daze.
"Reilly," Thompson lowered his head. "You said you could make me forget about this. I don't want to forget all of it, just the part about you, Nathan and the others having wings," he looked up at Reilly again. "Could you somehow give me false memories, ones that will let me help him out, but don't allow me to remember his wings?"
"I'm not sure, I haven't tried that specific kind of memory wiping before," Reilly replied, " I guess I could try it out, but not yet. I still need you to help out Nathan, while you can still remember his secret."
Thompson held his hands in his pockets. "What do you want me to do?"
"Exactly what Nathan asked you to do. I'm only trying to help him out; I don't want anything in return."
Only to pay them back, Reilly thought, and to help Blaze, he helped to free me, I'll return the favour.
I sat in the interrogation room alone, thinking about the conversation we had had. In truth, if this ever did go public, there would be riots. Humanity would be split. There would be religious groups and normal people who would object to us Angelan. Then there would be the people who would fight for us, people like Thompson who would look past the fact that we were different and see us for who we are, not what we are. It was disturbing to think that a war might break out because of us.
My thoughts were interrupted as the door to the interrogation room opened. The first cop that tried interrogating me, but failed walked in. I looked up at him and smiled sweetly.
"To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?" I asked, recognizing his face.
"You're free to go," He replied, "although if it was up to me, I'd have put you in a cell until you felt like talking."
I got up and walked to the door passing the cop on the way. As I passed him I whispered,
"Perhaps I didn't want to talk to you," I said, "have you ever thought about that?"
I walked out of the room and into the police station. People looked up at me as I walked past and then went back to work. I was just another ordinary person called in for questioning. I ignored them; I was too busy worrying about Skye and Terra. I hoped they hadn't gotten any rough treatment. Especially from that arrogant cop. Thompson then walked up to me and explained what was going on.
"You've been cleared of all charges Nathan," He said, "I couldn't do the first part you asked me, but I did manage to get you a powerful computer to use. Come with me."
"What about my friends?" I asked him.
"They're already waiting for you. You know, they are pretty loyal. Not one of them was willing to give you up."
"Yeah well, all we have is each other," I replied.
We walked down a corridor and entered a room stopped outside a door near the end of the corridor. I opened the door and walked in. Skye and Terra were sitting in the chairs waiting for me. I walked up to Skye, wrapped my arms around her and kissed her.
"Are you ok?" I asked, breaking off the kiss.
"Yeah I'm fine," Skye replied, "although you are kind of crushing my wings."
"Sorry," I replied, letting go of her. "Terra are you ok?"
Terra didn't reply. I looked up at her to see she was looking at the floor, I could sense she was feeling left out. I grabbed her and hugged her as well. I was happy that we were ok and nothing had gone wrong. After a moment Terra hugged me back.
"Can we still be friends?" Terra asked me.
"What made you think we weren't?" I asked back, "I'll always be your friend; in fact, you could call me your big brother."
"Ok," She replied.
Now that everything had been sorted out, it was time to get down do business, big business.
I sat down at Thompson's computer and began to get to work.
"Thompson, do you still have our things you took from us?" I asked
"Yeah sure," He replied, "do you want it back?"
"That would help," I replied smartly.
Thompson walked out of the office to get our stuff. As soon as he left Skye and Terra were around the desk and watching me get to work.
"Why do you need our stuff?" Terra asked.
I began tapping away at the keys while I replied back. "I want our stuff because I have a little pet project I've been working on," I said.
"What pet project?" Skye asked, "I have never seen you working on any project."
"The keyword there is seen," I replied, "You've never seen me working on it."
"Well what is it?" Terra asked a little impatiently.
"I've been working on a computer virus," I replied, "One that will make all the others seem like harmless kittens. I nicknamed it Dragon. I am going to use it to destroy the base that the whitecoats have kept Flame in. It won't know what hit them after Dragon's done her work."
"Isn't that a bit dangerous?" Terra said. "What happens if it spreads to the outside world?"
"I designed it so that it would only attack the network inside the installation; it will not infect any other computers."
"What does it do, exactly?" Skye asked.
"The Dragon virus uploads itself into the computer system and begins to trash the entire hard drive. While it is doing this, it will cause the computer to go under a huge amount of stress and cause it to eventually overheat and catch on fire, hence, the Dragon symbolism. If it infects the network efficiently, the Dragon virus will infect the main power core of the base and cause that to overload, destroying all evidence that it was ever there."
"Sounds ruthless." Skye said, "My kind of virus."
"Another thing about it," I said, "is that while it crashes the computer's hard drive, it has a dragon flying around the screen burning all the documents."
"I hope you aren't planning on releasing that virus," Thompson said, appearing from no where. "That could cause you to get in big trouble."
"I'm only using it for a little revenge," I said, "anyway, I'm the only one who can actually use it. The virus only takes its commands from me and will only destroy a certain target."
I quietened down as I got deeper into the cyber world. I was searching for recently re-opened military bases or bunkers, but came up with nothing. So I decided to try the last and most risky option… Hacking the academy's mainframe, but it was going to be tough.
It actually began quite easily - at first it was only a few firewalls, then it got tricky with traps and snares, eventually leading on to more complex things like defence grids and killer viruses. They were using freaking viruses to protect their mainframe. Welcome to the future of the cyber world.
After hours and about twelve near fatal accidents I was up against the last obstacle, an infinity code firewall. An infinity code was a code that would take basically infinity to crack unless you knew the code to access it. Numbers flashed across the screen in a seemingly random order, seeming endless. I watched it for about five minutes before I eventually began to se a series of numbers that were always strung together. 5 24 9 12 5, that was the code. I figured out another thing about it. The numbers represented letters, letters that spelt Exile. I began to see the truth about our existence. We were just somebody's bargaining chips to be accepted back into society, even to become famous. I wasn't about to be used…
The whitecoats secret installation was located out in the middle of the Nevada desert, believe it or not. With the cryonic room I had seen, I thought it was somewhere cold. But no, it was in the middle of a freaking desert. One up side to being in the middle of a desert, plenty of thermals so flying is going to be a breeze. No pun intended. Thompson had disappeared after he returned our stuff, at least we didn't have to worry about saying any thanks and making up reasons for why we had to go. Skye, Terra and I slipped quietly out of the police station and walked to the edge of town. Once we were clear of any prying eyes, we spread our wings and flew back to our hideout. The others would be worried.
We glided on a fresh breeze and let ourselves be carried along by it. Within five minutes the cave was in sight. We were thrilled at being free once again. We had out-smarted The Academy and their whitecoats. Again! But something was nagging at my mind. Skye and Terra landed in the cave entrance ahead of me. Suddenly, a net appeared out of nowhere trapping Skye and Terra. Out of the shadows of the cave, a pack of Erasers walked out and grabbed the net. Damn it. I should have seen this coming. I watched from the sky as the Erasers dragged Skye and Terra back into the cave and laid a trap for me.
That's what it was, I thought, the cave was quiet, there was no fire started. They must have capture Falcon and Drake as well.
"Blaze!" a voice shouted out, "I know you are there. There is no point in running, I have your friends. If you want to keep them alive, you'll come down here now."
"And what makes you think I care about them," I bluffed. Stupid I know, but I was stalling for time while I racked my brain for a plan.
"Don't be dumb. I know you care for them like a family. Come down here so we can talk."
I finally recognized the voice. It was Lucas.
"I'll come down, Lucas," I replied, "but your pack mates better stay out of the way."
"You're not in position to negotiate," Lucas called out, "so quit playing games before one of my friends feels like going hunting."
I sighed in resignation. I had no choice. I either escape and let them die or let them live, but only in captivity. I know the choice they would prefer. Before I could answer, a shadow flew up at me and tackled me through the air and into the canopy of the trees. I lashed out to defend myself to find the figure had already moved out of my attacking range. In fact, he was sitting on the branch watching me. I recognized him instantly.
"Reilly," My voice filled with loathing, "what are you doing here?"
"Helping you," He replied, "it seems you're in a bit of a tight spot."
No, really? I thought bitterly. "Why are you helping me?"
"I'm keeping a promise." Reilly replied. He wouldn't say any more on the subject, no matter how hard I tried. I sighed. If I wanted to get the others back, I needed to work with Reilly, no matter how much I loathed him.
"So what are we going to do?" I asked Reilly.
"I'll create a diversion; you sneak in and free the others."
"That simple!" I asked. Even an Eraser can come up with a plan like that, I thought, I can't believe I'm agreeing with Reilly, but it might actually work.
"Fine," I sighed, "lets go."
I waited in the trees as Reilly flew up to the cave entrance. A few minutes later I could hear the sounds of a struggle. There was a sudden bout of cursing, most likely from an Eraser, and then havoc. Reilly sped out of the cave, the pack of Erasers hot on his tail.
I can't believe they fell for it, I thought, I mean they're dumb, but I didn't think they were that dumb.
I flew up to the cave entrance and landed on the shelf outside. I was about to step inside when I smelt a strong pong coming from inside. It looked like not all the Erasers had played 'follow the leader'. I grabbed a stone and climbed up above the entrance to the cave. I threw the stone so that it bounced on the shelf and then fall into the forest below. The Eraser in the cave came rushing out and looked around. He jumped down the rock face and into the forest searching for the stone.
Good doggy, I thought, go fetch and don't come back.
I slipped quietly into the cave and found the others tied up and locked in the portable dog crate cages. I slipped up to the first cage and popped the lock open. I reached inside and grabbed Flacon. At first he struggled against me then, realizing who it was, stopped struggling and let me untie his bonds.
"Go watch the entrance," I ordered as I moved on to the next cage, "tell me if any dog boys show up again."
I popped open the lock and untied Drake then moved on to Terra. I opened her cage and untied her, but she didn't respond. I checked her pulse and it was strong. Then I was the blood on her forehead and realized she had probably been knocked unconscious to stop her from bringing the cave down. A howl rang from the forest below, urging me on.
"Drake," I called quietly, "collect our stuff and prepare to leave in a quick fashion."
Drake nodded and grabbed the bags lying on the floor. I popped open Skye's cage and untied her, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Is everyone alright?" I asked.
"Everyone is fine," Drake said, "The only person injured was Terra and she is only unconscious."
It was then that Terra came round. She looked slightly dazed but ok. I helped her get ready to leave quickly and made sure there weren't any major side effects from being hit on the head.
"Looks like the mutts have decided playing follow the leader isn't fun anymore." Flacon shouted, "They're heading back here and they're in a hurry."
"Get going," I ordered, "We need to get out of the cave before Lucas gets back."
A shout of pain came form the entrance.
"It's too late for that." Lucas' voice called from the entrance. "I'm tired of playing games now Alpha. Next time you pull a stunt like that, I will kill one of your friends. The Academy wants you back; they don't care about the others. They can be replaced."
Oh boy, now things are getting serious…
"Now Alpha, walk out slowly and with you hands where I can see them." Lucas ordered, "I don't want any unexpected surprises."
I looked at the others spread around the cave. We were trapped and they new it. I placed my bag on my back and walked out of the cave and onto the shelf where Lucas waited for me. The others followed me out, bags on backs as well.
"I have told you once," I said, "and I will tell you one more time. My name is Blaze, not Alpha. Use it."
I dove at Lucas, driven by anger and an instinct to protect my flock, my family. But I wasn't the one to hit him. A shadow flew out of the sky and slammed into Lucas. I recognized Reilly's face and screamed at the others to get moving. The pack of Erasers were lost about what to do in the confusion. They didn't know whether to catch us or to help their leader. Suddenly a gunshot rang out through the air. I turned towards the sound to watch Reilly collapse to the ground, a gunshot wound through is right lung. Lucas rose from the ground, pointing the gun at Terra and I, the rest of the flock and managed to escape.
It was then I suddenly lost it. Blackness surrounded me as my power lost control. Terra jumped off the shelf and flew to the others; Lucas occupied by me, and got to safety before I really lost control. My wings turned a pure shade of black, so dark it was like looking into nothing. My hair turned from the normal brown streaked with gold, to a jet black, my clothes followed, turning black. I looked at Lucas and his face showed disbelief. In his eyes I could see my reflection. I looked like an angel of death for lack of a better description. This was not a lucky night... for them.
"Stop him," Lucas shouted to the other Erasers, "get him down before he causes more trouble."
An Eraser leapt at me, aiming to knock me down with his weight. I lifted my arm and hurled a punch at him, decking him in the first punch.
Hmmm, I thought, it seems I'm slightly stronger, I wonder what else I can do.
Another Eraser leaped at me from the side, aiming to knock me against the wall and hopefully daze me. I back flipped onto a nearby pile of rocks as the Eraser struck the wall and knocked himself out. I kicked another Eraser on the side of the head as he tried to swipe my feet out from under me and watched him drop like a stone. Lucas and I were the only ones left.
Finally I get to finish what I started, I thought, Lucas will pay for everything he has done to all the Angelan.
"Blaze," Lucas called, "They would prefer you alive to dead, but my orders were to catch you alive if able. At the moment I am not able to capture you alive, so dead will do."
Lucas raised his gun and pointed it at me. I saw his finger twitch on the trigger and leapt into space as the bullet flew past the spot where I had been standing a few seconds ago. I flapped my wings and gained altitude then dive-bombed Lucas. Shots range out, whizzing past me, the air singing as they flew extremely close to hitting me, but surprisingly none did. I hit Lucas square in the chest and sent him flying to the ground still holding the gun. I lunged at his gun arm and began to use my strength to force him to drop the gun. Lucas struggled against me, trying to loosen my grip. Suddenly a shot went off and a sharp pain dug into my shoulder. I saw drops of blood drip to the ground from the wound and realised he had shot me. Again Lucas struggled trying to bring the gun up for a killing shot.
I release pressure on his arm slightly and he lifted the gun. I then grabbed the gun and began to turn it around and point it towards Lucas. Another shot rang out and shrapnel from the bullet hitting the stone floor stung as they cut us. I continued pressuring the gun, turning it against Lucas. Another shot rang out, this one finding the target I had chosen for it. Lucas stared up at me in shock, the light in his eyes slowly dimming as he died.
Lucas is finally dead, I thought, so why don't I feel any better than before? Is it because I killed someone? Or is it the fact that I was able to kill him so easily? I crawled over to Reilly and saw that he was still alive.
"Blaze," Reilly coughed as he noticed me, "I … told you… that I had… made a promise. That… promise was to Max… your mother," He paused to let it sink in, "I knew her... after I… became like you. She knew… what they would do. She said… if they create a... second generation… to protect them… no matter if they were… her children or not… She made me promise… and I will keep it until the… last breath I will take."
Reilly shuddered as his body grew cold. Blood stained his clothes, soaking them to be precise. He heaved one last breath and was still. Reilly had kept his promise to my mother, until his dying breath.
I stayed kneeling at Reilly's side; the others slowly came and landed on the shelf. I had returned to my normal self. Skye walked up to me and healed the bullet wound in my shoulder, the bullet falling out onto the ground. Then she knelt beside me and saw me cry, something I didn't do often, not in public anyway. She began to comfort me when she realised the tears were not only of shock, but of grief and confusion as well. I let her. The others got to work moving the bodies of the unconscious Erasers away from the cave and into the forest below the edge, taking the track the Erasers had somehow found. Drake carried off Lucas' body and buried him where not even police dogs would find him.
"Reilly promised Max to look after us," I spoke at last, "he knew my mother and promised her he would look after any second generation kids. Max knew they might try something like this. And Reilly paid with his life to keep that promise."
My voice cracked as I said this. I had always suspected of Reilly having an ulterior motive, I just didn't realize it was a promise he had kept my mother.
After an eternity I finally composed myself. No sign of the emotional breakdown I had just moments ago. It was time for our final flight, our last mission together. We were to free Flame and the others at the installation… or die trying. I ordered Drake, Terra and Falcon to get some dry firewood. I was going to cremate Reilly and scatter his ashes. All Angelan had agreed that once free, if we died free, we would be cremated and have our ashes scattered on the wind we were born to fly on. As we built the pyre the others paid their respects to Reilly. Skye had told them what I had found out and they had taken an entirely different attitude towards him. We moved the body onto the pyre and a few moments of silence occurred, then I lit the pyre and we flew off into the rising sun. On to the Nevada desert and the installation… onto our uncertain future or our certain doom.
As we flew I told the rest of the group about the location of The Installation and showed them the blueprints of the place on their WP's, which I had managed to find while investigating the bases database.
We had all decided that trying to infiltrate the place using the air ducts was not going to work. Unlike in most novels and movies I had read during my time at the academy, most of the military bases and bunkers did not have air ducts large enough for people to crawl along. And according to the blue prints, there was only two ways into the base, the front door or the back door. The front door to the bunker was the main entry and exit point to the base. Whenever people left, they took the front door and walked to the garage kept in a separate building a few metres away. The back door was more like a huge trapdoor in the side of a desert sand dune. Under the sand dune, was a solid concrete foundation that formed the supply door to the base. Trucks flowed in and out of the door, delivering supplies to the base and for whatever experiments were going on beneath the desert sands.
The back door was the first idea we had, but decided they might have expected us to walk through the biggest door in the base. So we decided to split into two teams, one would stay on the surface and disable the vehicles in the garage, making sure there was no pursuit when we escaped. The second team was going to walk right in the front door and I mean that literally. We were just going to create a diversion with the supply trucks and then, while people were busy with the supply trucks, we were just going to walk right in the front door and act like we belonged. I know, hard to think like three sixteen year old kids could belong at that place.
It's a good thing I had accidentally found out that The Installation used some of the other experiments, other than Erasers, to guard the place. Experiments like the human-tiger hybrids and other human kids that had extra-ordinary abilities. I'm sure they wouldn't notice a few humans with powers walk right in the front door. I mean, they have it happening all day right? And at least we can hide our wings. Now… all me needed was a few ID badges to copy.
We flew on, heading towards the Nevada desert, making stops along the way only to eat, sleep and shower. Yes we slept in hotels, not exactly smart, Erasers could probably track us, but sleeping in a public building was pretty safe, at least they wouldn't attack us in view of others. Our last stop, on the journey was at a small city near the great basin in the Nevada desert. I had noticed that a few of the employees of The Installation tended to head there while on weekend leave. Hopefully we could get a badge off them when we were in town. The city's name was Carson City.
We dropped out of the sky a few miles short of the city and walked up the main street until we found a motel to sleep in. We had taken almost three maybe four days to get into town and most of us were hungry. I sent Falcon and Terra out to get some food for us, making sure to give them the cash we had withdrawn earlier so the Erasers couldn't find us. While they were away, Drake decided to scout out the town and see when the off-shift employees would arrive in town, leaving Skye and I alone in the room. I sat down on the bed and began to go over the plan once more, making sure I had the map imprinted on my mind, making sure I could remember the map in full detail if I needed to. Skye went into the bathroom and a few minutes later I heard running water as Skye ran the shower.
After a few minutes, I lay back on the bed, thoughts buzzing through my head. There were so many 'what ifs' to deal with, like what if they didn't buy our story? What if they could recognize us?
This is hard to cope with, I thought, planning to go back to one of those places and then breaking all the experiments out of their captivity.
I looked over at Skye as she hopped onto the bed. She crawled over and lay down next tome and snuggled up against me. After a moment of silence she whispered into my ear.
"Blaze," She said, "what if we don't make it out? Before they find us, that is."
Another what if. I sighed, not knowing how to answer. After a few seconds had passed I spoke.
"I don't know," I replied, "I suppose we will have to fight our way out. To be honest Skye, I'm not sure if everyone is going to survive this."
"Then lets make the most of life while we can," Skye said.
She leaned over and kissed me passionately on the lips. I responded by kissing her back. I'll spare you the details, and leave it at the fact that things after that went way beyond our control.
A few hours had passed, the sun had gone down below the horizon and the stifling heat of the day dropped to the freezing cold of a desert night. Skye and I had cleaned the room up so that the others wouldn't realise what had happened. It was between us and us alone. No-one was to find out.
Drake walked into the room, a grin on his face.
"I guess you were right," He said, speaking to me, "A truck of about four maybe five employees form The Installation just came driving up. They hired the room two doors down from us. It looks like they're going to have a party."
"What's this I hear?" said Falcons voice from the door, "A party? So when do we get to go?"
"It's not for us," I said, "The moron squad from The Installation are having a party. After they pass out form drinking too much alcohol, we can steal at least one of their badges. I seriously don't know why people like drinking that stuff. Apparently all it does is give you a major headache the next morning."
We all laughed at that, easing the tension that had built in the room at Drakes report. Terra and Falcon placed the food on the table and spread it out for us to stare at hungrily. When Terra and Flacon had finished there was a small banquet for us to eat. There was a sudden mad rush for the table as we grabbed all the items of food we wanted to eat before the others got to it first. We finished off the food in a matter of minutes, probably a new world record. But we had an excuse, how many people can say they can eat a small banquet and still stay thin? We could. Our flight had taken more energy than we had ever had to use and made us hungrier.
A small burp came from the corner of the room where Terra and Falcon had retreated to. Both of them burst out laughing because it was Terra, not Falcon who had burped. I saw then that they had become close friends through the events that had happened to us, perhaps more then friends. If they wanted to keep it a secret, they could. Drake sat alone in the opposite corner, not paying any attention to anyone and I realised how lonely he might feel.
I began to drift off and decided everyone was entitled to some sleep. Besides, the party sounded like it would go on into the early hours of the morning. Then while everyone was passed out, we would make our move. I slid back onto the bed and Skye followed me. We snuggled close to each other and I covered us with my wings.
"I love you," Skye whispered to me, before she fell asleep, her golden hair cascading down over her face.
"I love you too," I whispered to her. It was a while before I fell asleep. I had made some final adjustments to our plan. I was replacing Skye with Falcon. I didn't want Skye in the Installation with me. I couldn't bear to live if anything happened to her. At least she would be safe from harm. With that thought I finally drifted off to sleep.
We all awoke at just after four in the morning. It wasn't that we had set an alarm or anything; it was the fact that the party had gone silent, that was what had woken us up.
"Alright," I said, "now's the time to get an ID card from them."
We snuck out of our room and down the building to the room the party was being held in. We walked up to the door and listened for any movement inside. When no sounds were heard, Falcon picked the lock on the door.
"Where did you learn to do that?" I asked him, as the door swung open.
"From years of trying to pick the lock on my cage," Falcon said, "it definitely comes in handy out here in the real world though."
I nodded and crept into the motel room. There were beer bottles lying on the floor and all over the tables. A couple of people had passed out on the couch and another had passed out on the bed. In the back corner of the room were their backpacks. I crept over to the bags and unzipped them slowly so as to make no noise. I looked in the bag and searched through the contents. No ID badge.
I should have guessed they wouldn't leave them in their bags, I thought, now where would they be?
I looked around at the three people passed out in the room. Two of them were guys and the other a girl, all three no older than we were. The girl and one of the guys were the ones passed out on the couch, the second guy had passed out on the bed. I scanned the room and saw nothing. Then as I crept out, I saw the ID badge poking out of the back pocket of the guy on the bed.
This lot are idiots, I thought, I though they would be smarter than Erasers, but event Erasers are smarter than them. If that's even possible.
I crept up and slowly eased the badge out of the guy's pocket. He didn't even stir, not even as I crept back out the door and Flacon closed and locked it.
"Did anyone order an ID badge?" I asked, showing them my new find. I think I'm going to be 'finding' a few items in the future.
We crept back to our room and I pulled out our Wrist pilots. We took turns in scanning the ID badge onto our WP's and then we began to alter it. We placed out photos on the badge and replaced the name Neil Reynolds, with each of our own personal Aliases. After a few moments we had the ID's competed and had found a new function to the WP's. They could print the ID's and laminate them for us, just like the originals.
We returned the ID badge and then collected our stuff from our room and left. No sense in hanging around when we had stuff to do. We followed the map I had made with the information I had found and I filled them in on the changes to the plan as we flew south-south-east towards our target. The Installation.
"What do you mean I'm not going in with you?" Skye whispered fiercely at me.
I pulled Skye away from the others and talked to her quietly.
"I don't want you in the direct line of fire, Skye," I said, "It won't be safe on the inside. I don't want to risk losing you," I lowered my voice even further, "Skye; I don't want to lose you. Life would be meaningless without you."
"And without you, but what if we are separated," Skye argued softly, "wouldn't you be distracted not knowing what was happening to me back on the surface. And anyway, my healing abilities will come in handy."
As much as I hated to admit it, Skye was right. I probably would be distracted by not knowing what was happening. But ever since yesterday, I felt closer to Skye and if she died, I felt I would as well. During my education, I had discovered that when birds chose a mate, they chose them for life. Since we were part bird, I wondered if that was the same with us, that once we chose someone to love, it was for the rest of our lives. Although, I always felt Skye was the only person I needed in my life.
"Alright, you're on my team," I agreed, "but stay close and don't go off alone, anywhere."
I stressed that last part to make sure she understood.
"Alright," Skye said, "your over-protective, you know that?"
"Well, our lives are filled with more danger than normal people. I should be allowed to be."
Skye smiled and kissed me before returning to our little hidey-hole just north of The Installation. We were making final adjustment to the plan before our jail-break went into action. I got the Dragon Virus ready o be uploaded into their database as soon as we had rescued Flame.
I stayed outside a bit longer, surveying the bases grounds. To be on the safe side, we had gone back and hijacked the employee's car so that we could drive in like humans would. It would lessen suspicion from the guards on duty, and make it easier for us to drive in. Once we got inside the base grounds I would drive the car to the garage and we would split into our teams and carry out operation Jail Break.
The guard looked down at me, sitting in the driver's seat of the car, as I waited for him to grant us access into The Installations grounds.
"I can't say I've ever heard of The Academy," the guard said, "are you sure that was where you were transferred from."
"Yes, I'm sure," I said. "Look, can't you just let us through? We have been transferred here and would like it if we could settle in as soon as possible."
"What did you do to get transferred here?" The guards asked, "Normally we get the problematic ones out here to train into shape."
"I was over enthusiastic at killing my targets," I said. The guard gulped at that, "Danielle had the habit of always causing fights with the Eraser's whenever they jeered at her. Falcon here was always sneaking into restricted areas and Drake, well lets just say has habits of destroying installation property. Any problems?"
"Ah… no," the guard said nervously, "you can go through."
We drove through the gates, the sun slowly setting beyond the horizon as we arrived at the garage. Just on time. The cargo trucks would be arriving at nightfall, like scheduled and the first team would disable the trucks and cause a bit of a commotion. While in the desert, we had caught a few critters to use. We had scorpions, snakes and a few other creepy crawlies.
I stepped out of the car and collected my bag from the trunk of the car.
"Alright, this is where we split up," I said, "Terra and Falcon, go cause some havoc, Drake Skye, let's go."
I walked towards the door and swiped my card to allow access to the installation. A buzzing noise came from the door as the electronic lock turned off and the door swung open. We were in, now it was time to cause the chaos. We walked down a corridor and arrived at a reception desk, surprisingly unmanned by anyone. Ok, things were getting strange already. We walked cautiously down the next corridor and came to another split into four corridors.
Go right, Flames vice entered my head. I turned right and followed the corridor to an elevator.
They know you're hear Blaze, Flame said, they're expecting you.
I guessed that might happen, I thought to Flame, so I came prepared.
What are you planning this time? Flame thought.
Oh, nothing but a little chaos and havoc. I thought, still following the corridor, Can you disconnect from the cyber world or not?
I can't fully disconnect, Flame thought, but I should be able to if the security system of the computers detects a hacker or harmful program.
Would a virus do? I thought back.
Yeah, that should do, Flame thought, find a terminal and I can log you in.
I saw a terminal up ahead at another desk and walked around the desk to it and saw Flame had already logged in. I pulled out the WP and uploaded the virus into the computer and gave it ten minutes until activation.
Plenty of time.
I continued down the corridors, following directions from Flame and eventually lead to the catwalk I had seen in my vision. I slowly crept down the corridor, realising I was getting closer to my objective, but what Flame had said, got me suspicious. It was too easy. I came across the door to the cryonic room and found it open, the room returned to normal temperature because of the computer alert.
"Stay back and watch my back," I told Skye and Drake, "something isn't right, it's too easy."
Drake nodded to show he agreed with me. Skye stayed back as we walked through the doors and into the now defrosted Cryonic room. The three figures I had seen in my vision were now clearly visible. All of them wore what looked like wetsuits with holes in them for their wings. Without me telling him to, Drake raced up and began to release the captives from their tanks. When I say releasing, I mean smashing the Plexiglas tanks with his fist, draining the tanks of fluid, and pulling the captives out. All of them were unconscious, but alive.
The giant door to the room clanged shut and we heard the hushed movements of people hurrying to get into position around us. I looked up to see a balcony surrounded the entire room and a mixture of Erasers and other experiments surrounded us. Those that weren't capable of transforming held guns… trained on us. I noticed some of the kids were bird-human experiments as well and felt only pity for them. They had been fed, and believed, the same lies I had been told. I heard clapping coming from above and focused my attention on the figure stepping out of the shadows.
"Well done, Alpha," the figure said from the shadows, "when we discovered you would come here, we set a little welcoming committee for you. I hope you like our warm welcome. Although whatever you said to the front guard had him shaken up."
I didn't recognize the face but the voice sounded familiar.
"Why let us come here," I asked, "all this way, only to capture us again?"
"Don't you get it?" The figure said, "All of this, from the time you escaped, was just another test. Although Reilly's interference was unexpected, we still managed to find a way to complete the exercise."
"Exercise?" I asked, "What exercise? We have been running for our lives from your mutts and avoiding charges of murder, and to you all it was, was another exercise, a game to you."
"The exercise in question was to see if you could survive in the outside world and blend in with the human world." The shadowed figure explained, "Although there were a few setbacks, like the fact you tended to live in that cave, rather than any hotels, until your journey here, you still did far better than your mother at keeping your flock alive. Did you know, we had assassins after you as well, but they couldn't seem to track you? It's such a shame that Max wasn't aware of the one following her flock. But I'm proud of you, Nathan, very proud of you."
"Why?" I asked, already suspecting the truth.
The figure walked into the light and his face was suddenly lit by the lights overhead, and I stood face to face with Jeb… My Grandfather.
"Hey Granddad," I said, "I see your still as evil and maniacal as usual. I can't believe you would hire an assassin to kill your own daughter, my mother."
"Don't call me Granddad," Jeb said, a hint of annoyance in his voice, "you are an experiment, I am not related to you."
"Suit yourself," I replied in a mildly bored manner, "I don't want anything to do with you either. You were the one who killed my mother."
"It was necessary," Jeb explained, "we were seeing if they could survive in the real world. If they ever found out about you, some would most likely try to kill you. We had to see if you could cope."
"So, since Max failed, you decided to make a second generation by mixing the DNA of two of the first generation?" I said, "How smart."
"It was necessary," Jeb said again.
"Is that all your going to say?" I asked, "because then, if that is the case, I'm done talking to you. You treat us like we are animals, less than human. We are people, probably better than humans will ever be."
Anger clouded Jeb's face, and then was replaced by the normal mask of indifference,
"Shoot him," Jeb ordered; walking back into the shadows, "he's just another failed experiment."
The Erasers began to transform; their wolf mouths dripping with saliva, expectant of the kill. I didn't even need to read their thoughts to figure that out. The bird kids lifted their guns and pointed them at us. I heard the clicking as they prepared to fire the guns.
"You would really shoot one of your own," I said, speaking to the bird kids and the other experiments, "I am like you, I'm different, unique, why should you kill me? I've seen the outside world. It's not as bad as Jeb makes it out to be. Not everyone is going to try and kill you."
"How would you know?" One of the bird kids shouted, "How do you know that they won't try and kill you when you least expect it?"
"Because the person who helped me find this place, was a human. A Human FBI Agent," I said, "He saw me for who I am, not a human but as an Angelan."
"Angelan?" One of the other bird kids asked, "What's that?"
"That's what our flock call them selves," Skye explained, "We don't degrade ourselves by keeping the name of experiment, or continue calling ourselves the bird kids."
"You heard Jeb's orders," one of the Erasers said, "Shoot them."
The bird kids raised their guns, but more hesitantly this time. They were unsure of what to do.
"Look, you can choose what you want to do," I said, "Jeb doesn't control your life, he doesn't control mine and I'm related to him, for crying out loud!"
An Eraser leapt from the balcony, aiming to bite me in the throat. A chorus of bullet shots rang out and the Eraser fell to the floor lifeless. Then everything turned Chaotic. Erasers and Bird kids began to fight, shots from guns ricocheted around the room. I raced to the stairs and reached them as a hand grabbed my arm.
"We have to get out if here," Skye shouted over the noise, "the virus is eating away at the computer systems, it'll blow this place up. We have to go."
"Take Flame and the others and go," I shouted back, "I need to warn the other bird kids."
Skye hesitated, then let go of my arm. I raced up the stairs and found the kid that I thought was the leader of the bird kids at this place. He was in the middle of a wrestle with an Eraser and was slowly losing. I rushed over and kicked the Eraser under the chin, snapping the head back and leaving him on the ground twitching in its last moments of life.
"Get all the people you can out of here," I said, "This place won't exist for much longer."
The kid nodded and began to round up everyone he could. The noise of the fight was slowly dying out as the last of the Erasers were slowly defeated. I continued on through the door that Jeb had disappeared through. It lead into a small, well lit corridor with white toiled walls. What is it with places like this and white tiles? I'll never understand.
I continued down the corridor and reached offices packed into a huge hall like space. All the offices were packed into their own small soundproof glass cubicles. I saw an open door at the end of the room, walked over to it and peered in. It lead into another corridor.
How many corridors does this place have? I thought, it's already a maze in here.
I heard Jeb at the end of the corridor and followed the sound of his voice swiftly to a door. It had a sign in the middle that recognized the room beyond as the private hanger.
This place had its own private hanger? I thought, I wonder how rich you have to be to own one of those?
I walked into the hanger and saw Jeb loading piles of data disks and paper records into a private plane sitting in the middle of the hanger. How he managed to carry that many disks and records, I will never know. Jeb looked up and saw me standing there looking at him. He dumped the rest of the records into the plane and pulled a gun out and pointed it at me, fear showing on his face, not something that happened very often from what I've heard.
"Is something the matter, Jeb?" I asked. "Wait, don't tell me. You found a computer virus in the system and figured out that it will destroy this base. So now, you're trying to save your life's work and escape before it blows up and stuff everyone else? How typical, I should have guessed."
"Well, it seems you're in no hurry," Jeb answered back. "Why did you follow me? You could have escaped with the rest but you came after me. If I didn't know any better, I would say you were curious."
"I'm not curious," I replied back, "I just wanted to see you suffer at the moment of your death. You see, that virus is my creation, just as I'm yours. Unlike most of the others, I won't kill you, but I won't let you leave."
"Don't be stupid, Blaze," Jeb said, "You'll die as well."
"Maybe," I said, "You destroyed my life and the hopes of ever having a family. Because of you, I never got to meet my mother or father. Because of you, hundreds of people have died, all in the name of your experiments."
I began to change again, back into the black form I had transformed into days ago. I had thought over it and had figured out that it was most likely the darker side of my personality. Jeb's face began to show emotion, the first of which was disbelief, then he began to look worried.
"You have killed so many people, but for what?" I asked, "All in the name of science? I hate you, Jeb, but that isn't going to make me kill you."
"Blaze," Jeb said, "All these experiments have helped humanity. We have found ways of prolonging life. Your DNA recombination allows you to live twice as long as humans, we have found cures for genetic diseases we thought had no cure. We have even found ways to improve the genetic structures and give people paranormal abilities. All of these wouldn't be possible without you and your kind, or any of the others. Would you really allow your Grandfather to die?"
"So now you are related to me," I said smartly. "I though I was only an experiment to you. But now that I have the ability to save you and deactivate the virus, you want to become my family? Your judgement day is here Jeb, and to tell you the truth, your verdict isn't looking too good. I hope you rot in the furthest, deepest reaches of the fiery planes below for what you did. You are no relative of mine. You only care for your own self-centred desires and goals. You found cures for incurable diseases? How many people can say that? I guess only you and God, but that's what you wanted to hear wasn't it?"
"You don't understand," Jeb pleaded, "my work could save millions of lives, don't let all those that have died, die in vain."
"Pleading, Jeb?" I said, "I can't say any one of your experiments has seen this pathetic side of you." I looked at my watch, "tick, tick, tick Jeb. Times up."
Skye ran down the corridor after the others. Experiments from all over the base were running to the exit, alarms were sounding and computers were catching fire in the offices and at the reception desks. People were shoving, running and cursing when people got in their way. In short it was total chaos. Skye ran down the corridor, following close behind was Drake and the apparent leader of the Bird kids at the base. They rushed up the stairs, hurrying to get to the surface. Skye reached the ground level and ran to the exit, followed by the others. She stepped outside to yet more chaos. People were running around everywhere and it wasn't because of our earlier diversion. These people were wearing uniforms and were rounding up the scientists, and other experiments into groups. Skye saw trucks, vans, jeeps and cars all with different labels. There were the CIA, FBI, even the Army and Air force.
As she rushed outside, nearby soldiers came rushing up to her and began to escort her toward the other experiments being held for questioning and to be placed. The other experiments were being seated down with shrinks, FBI interrogators and other people trying to make sense of what was going on.
"She's with me," A voice rang out to the soldiers over the noise of the confusion and the helicopters passing over the place. Skye didn't recognize the face at first, and then realized it was Thompson.
"Danielle wasn't it?" Thompson asked using her alias, "You never did speak much. I got the feeling you didn't like me. Where's Nathan?"
Skye was too confused to give an answer and just pointed back at the main building of the base. Thompson shouted out to soldiers around and told them that there were more people still inside.
"NO!" Shouted Skye, "Don't go inside!" She turned to Thompson, "what time is it?" Thompson looked at his watch as a sudden rumbling emanated from the ground. The earth began to break apart and the buildings around the base grounds began to crumble. All of a sudden the night was illuminated by a huge column of fire exploding from the ground beneath the Main building. The shockwave from the explosion raced across the grounds, filling the vacuum that the explosion had produced. The column of fire died down after a few minutes, leaving a burnt out husk of a building leading down into the ground. Ahs and Debris rained down on the ground and littered the sand. Terra, Drake, Falcon and Skye watched on in complete disbelief as the building was completely destroyed, only the framework was left standing for miles around them. It took a moment until the shock of what happened sunk in then Skye let loose a cry of anguish and started to run towards the ruins. Hands grabbed her and the others and held them back, but they fought, trying to get back to the ruins. Skye couldn't believe Blaze was dead. She just wouldn't. She felt a prick in her arm and the world began to swim then went dark as she succumbed to the sedative.
After the incident at The Installation, the world found out about the existence of the Angelan kind and the others that were different. The kids that were old enough to live on their own were provided with their own houses, the younger ones were given to foster homes, but that didn't work out. The parents couldn't cope with the special requirements that the changed needed. Eventually, they sorted it out and the older kids that were allowed to live on their own adopted the younger ones to live with them.
Throughout the world more and more Angelan and changed appeared, and the facilities that gave birth to them were destroyed. There was an uproar over the findings of both the Angelan and the changed. There were people who accepted the new species with welcoming arms and then there were the people who were ordering for their containment and lock up for study. There were even some fanatics that wanted the kids killed.
I stood outside the small quiet suburban house, looking up at the windows and the pulled curtains. It was winter; four months had passes since the destruction of The Installation. I was surprised that I had survived the explosion. I had awoken to the desert sun shining in though a window. I had been found by some local people in the Nevada desert and had been kindly nursed back to health by them. I was fine physically, apart from exhaustion, but mentally and emotionally I was wiped out from all that had happened. After I had gained enough strength, I had left and headed for Washington DC in hopes of finding where my family had been located to.
I had arrived at the FBI headquarters to total confusion. It took weeks for me to get an interview with anyone to find out where Skye and the others had been located to. It took another few days to try and locate them before Thompson came to my aid, shocked that I had survived. He told me where they lived and said that they all thought I was dead. Skye had not left her room since their arrival at the place, most likely still grieving for my death.
I walked up the path to the front door and knocked on the wood, ignoring the brass knocker. I held a cap over my head so they couldn't recognize my face a first. Mean, I know, but the shock would be lessened. The door opened and Terra's face poked out at me.
"You could have gotten a bigger house," I said, "I would have preferred a mansion, but this will do."
"Do I know you?" Terra asked.
"Who is it Terra?" Drake's voice shouted from the kitchen.
"I don't know," She replied, "But he say we could have gotten a bigger house,"
Drake was suddenly at the door, peering under the cap at my face. His face went white in shock, and then he suddenly grabbed me and hugged me. Not something he would normally do. When he let me go I took my cap off and showed Terra it was me. She hugged me as well. Drake shouted for Falcon to come to the door and he appeared with Flame in tow. Both hugged me as if I had been gone for years.
"Do you mind if I come in?" I asked, "It's freezing out here."
They all moved aside to let me in and I placed my coat and hat on the stand next to the door.
"Nice to see you're still alive," Flame said, "at least you can fill me in on the bits of the story of my rescue the others are a bit hazy on. But what happened to you after The Installation blew up?"
I recapped my story of what happened and how I ended up here on the doorstep to my new home. Then I had to ask.
"Thompson said Skye hasn't left her room since you moved here. Is that true?"
The others looked at each other nervously.
"Yeah. Skye hasn't left her room since our arrival here; she refuses to speak to anyone and will not leave her room." Drake explained, "We're worried about her, Blaze."
"My names Nathan now," I said, "that's the name I will go by. I just want to be normal."
I rose up off the couch and headed for the stairs.
"Wait here for me ok?" I said, "If I don't come down, it's most likely that Skye killed me, thinking I'm an impostor or something."
I walked up the stairs and approached the door at the end of the hall. I tried turning the handle, but the door was locked so I listened closely. I could hear Skye's breathing, her heartbeat. I could feel her heartache from the door and I knew how deeply she missed me. I grabbed the piece of paper that had the address on and placed it under the door, and then I poked the key out of the lock on the other side and pulled it back with the paper. I placed the key in the lock and turned it to unlock the door. The room was large, most likely the master bedroom. It had the curtains drawn and was very warm. I approached the bed and sat down next to Skye.
She lay sleeping in the bed, her hair plastered to her face by sweat from the heat. Then I saw the small bundle by her arms and realized it was a baby. A baby? Oh man, it must have been the time in Carson City. I was not ready for kids, not one bit, but I'd stick by Skye no matter what. I brushed her cheek with my hand and tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. She woke up immediately and but a protective wing around the baby. She looked into my face, disbelief written across it.
"It can't be you," She said, "can it?"
I grabbed her hand and placed it against my heart, letting her feel my heartbeat and tell her that I was real and alive. She grabbed me and hugged me tightly, not wanting to let me go. I kissed her on the cheek and gently lay her back down on the bed, keeping the baby warm.
"I knew you couldn't be dead," Skye said, "I just knew you were still alive."
"So what did you name her?" I asked, talking about the baby.
"You aren't fazed by the fact that we have a daughter and we're only sixteen?" Skye asked
"Actually I'm seventeen now," I said, "my birthday was two weeks ago. As for our daughter, I just came back from near death; I think I can handle a child."
God help me, I thought, but never said it aloud, I'm just thankful to have my family by my side to help me out.
I couldn't help it and I ended up smiling. I finally had a family of my own to be part of. I could finally relax for the first time in my life and live with a family. Even if we had an unexpected arrival. Skye saw my smile and smiled back.
"The others don't know about her yet," Skye said, "I named her after your mother, Blaze… I named her Max."