Ah, applications are all done. Finals are all done. Now I just have to wait for an acceptance letter. Oh wait—I got accepted to one of my top choice colleges while I was writing this!

Spectrobes: Legends

Mysterious Underground Movement

Alex threw his arms into the air with an almost deranged-looking combination smile/frown on his face. Clearly, he wasn't sure whether he should be celebrating or crying. The Trung sisters, on the other hand, were using every ounce of their self restraint to keep from either screaming at the top of their lungs or jumping the SWAT team members.

One SWAT team member that wasn't pointing a gun at us stepped towards Alex and took him by the arm. "HQ, Delta Squad has located the Child of Interest. Target Redhead is with him." He looked Alex over and held up his arm. "Scars around the arms. Bruising on the face. One eye swollen shut. Who did this?"

He didn't hesitate to use his free arm to point at the Trung sisters.

"Why you little f—" the younger sister was about to say something very nasty, but her older sister cut her off.

"What else should we expect when the boy has somehow gotten a second set of rescuers?" She didn't resist as the SWAT team members cuffed her hands behind her back and did the same to her sister. "But the both of you should be warned," she began. "This isn't over, not—"

"I swear if you say 'not by a long shot,' I'm going to smack you upside of the head with the broad side of my sword."

One of the SWAT team members chuckled. When his superior glanced at him, he went rigid and tried to look like he hadn't uttered a sound since crashing in.

"HQ, we need evac on a hostage and three prisoners."

When the high-ranking officer said three, another SWAT team member stepped towards me with a pair of handcuffs at the ready. I felt my heart plummet into my gut. Before he got a step closer, I darted to the side and ran towards the window.

"She's making a break for it!" One shouted.

"Stop her!" A woman with a muffled voice commanded.

"Wait, kid! It never looks good when you run!"

Yeah, well I'd prefer looking bad to some government laboratory any day! I thought.

Someone shot at me, but it ended with a large THUD and someone screaming, "We need her alive!"

I was already flying out the window when they caught up to me. As I plummeted to the ground, I noticed the countless police cars with their lights flashing on the ground, the barricade they'd formed, and the massive crowd that had formed outside of the TSI building. There was a sudden wave of screaming.

I was maybe ten or fifteen feet away from splattering against the pavement when I called out Aoba. I landed on its back and we tore through the crowd. People dove out of the way as we flew and darted between buildings. There were screams and cheers, as well as the roaring of police officers on megaphones telling everyone to remain calm. When Aoba and I had put a large amount of distance between us and the TSI building, I let go and landed in an alleyway. I reverted back to my normal self, tore off my stockings and my hoodie, pulled on a white blouse, and had Aoba continue to fly off. After I was a ways away, but still not too close to the hotel, I called Aoba back.

(…)

When I arrived in the room, Lily and Keith rammed into me, looking me over and asking me questions.

"Why did you disconnect?" Keith demanded.

"There are police everywhere! You're on the news!" Lily squealed. A sudden look of shock came over her face. "What about Alex?"

I smiled. "He's OK. I'm pretty sure that the SWAT team that came for us is going to get him back home."

They pulled me into the room. Dr. Terra handed me a candy bar and a bottle of water. It was only when the first bite of chocolate went down my throat that I realized how hungry I really was. Between bites, I filled them in on what happened and why I had to cut off the conversation.

"I see," Mr. Tanner sighed. "You were afraid that they might trace the signal. Good thinking."

Lily called to us from the living area. "Guys, come here! Check out the news."

CNN was playing HD footage of my escape on loop. It had been taken from a building across the street from TSI's facility. You could hear the people that were recording it gasp as I fell. They cheered when I got away on Aoba. The footage froze and vanished as the feed switched to a woman at the scene of the incident.

"Yes, it is true! The girl and a Spectrobe have been independently confirmed to have leapt out of the new Trung Sisters Incorporated building. Attention first came to the building when bloggers in the city posted about the FBI SWAT teams breaking into the building. Authorities still refuse to comment, but witnesses have posted footage of the Trung Sisters being arrested and an unidentified youth being taken to safety. No word yet on who this youth is."

I collapsed onto the couch and breathed a sigh of relief. "He's OK," I breathed.

"Now then," Dr. Terra said, "the question is how the world will react to seeing you run."

The next hour was spent pouring over major blogs, chat rooms, and the more popular videos of my escape. There were some that were calling me a criminal, saying that I was working with the Krawl, but the typos showed that they were either from people not completely informed on the situation or internet trolls hoping to get a rise out of the people who would defend me.

There were a lot of people defending me.

(…)

He gazed at the screen as it was filled with his followers' responses.

No. 'Followers' wasn't the right word. Their movement had no true leader—no potential for someone in such a position to abuse such power. He simply tried act as a shepherd, a guide, that directed the unstoppable flow of kindred spirits in the direction of righteous freedom.

He barely had a second to run through the latest responses before they were pushed off of the screen by more incoming responses. He pressed a few buttons and it caused another window to open. Responses were organized based on the keywords he chose and appeared on the new window, meaning that they had been prioritized based on comment content. Some suggested a flash mob in front of the White House—a protest demanding a lift of the arrest warrant.

He sighed.

This wasn't the president's department. Despite how much he loathed how America's bureaucracy liked to sit on their butts sipping expensive coffee while the world rotted, he understood that there was nothing the Commander-in-Chief could do. Legally.

And that's where they came in.

He had his computer send out a series of automated messages explaining how, unless they had getting a new law passed in mind, there wasn't much that the lawmaking body of America could do, that they needed a different approach. Still, when it came to getting attention, the usual methods worked.

He rolled his chair away from the computer, set up a web cam, and pulled a green screen down behind him. He slipped on the Harlequin Mask, a mask that was completely devoid of features aside from three curves that formed a face: two small "U" shapes that pointed downwards, forming the eyes, and an elegant smile for the mouth. He put on a black jacket, hid his hair under a tight black ski cap, and slipped on the mask.

"It has come to Underground's attention that the government wishes to arrest a hero for having saved countless lives." As he spoke, his computer automatically disguised his voice using his own unique filter placed on top of several filters easily downloaded from the internet. It would take quite a few audio-technology experts to figure out what he actually sounded like, but he still changed his voice to an unnaturally high-pitched tone as he spoke for good measure. "So now we must take matters into our own hands if we are to stop this tyranny from continuing, since our leaders refuse to. We will defend the righteous."