PLEASE READ: You can all thank Massinvader for putting me back on the grid, as I like to say. I had this chapter pretty much finished, but forgot about it. Well, here it is. This is a prelude (sort of) to part two of this story. Hence the lack of action.

Also, be advised! I am approaching the time in life where I find out whether I have been accepted onto my chosen courses at school, as well as Battlefield 3's New Expansion! Been playing that on the PS3 recently. Anyway, enough about me. I have not proof read this at all, so it'll be messy and have more mistakes than usual. Allwell, here we are...

Chapter 5: Zero Contact

"I have to know this information, you sadistic muppet. Now, you either tell me on this comm or I'll find you first."

"He's using site X-2. You know where it is, see you in hell."

"Looking forward to it. Give my regards to Cube if you get there first."

"Ah, I forgot I was dealing with the infamous adopted child of Gru. Tell me, who died first? Which one of your sisters did I remove first?"

"You know the answer. I'm their last hope for vengeance, Hat. Their last hope since Dad betrayed my trust."

"I've destroyed your world piece by piece. How long before I find you?"

"You wont have to look far. Edith out."

- Encrypted message between Edith Gru and Jacob Butler, the first official day of the Villain-Civilian Treaty being enforced

Doing stuff takes your mind off things, the experts say. I think differently. Because, it always stays in the back of my mind, itching to get back into my thoughts forever – no matter what it is. As always with my life, no matter how well things go, something even worse happens than the last time. And doing things wont make you stop thinking about it. I laugh at them for saying that garbage. I also feel an urge to laugh – for all the wrong reasons – at what is happening to me at the moment. But I'll get back to this... epiphany, of sorts, later, 'cause right now I need to get out of here.

At least we're in a town of some sorts now. Very small-scale. Small buildings, shops, apartment blocks, everything. Maybe that little mishap was a good thing.

"Oh, sorry Mia! I forgot to say, don't push the red button." I laugh as I help her up off the ground. She had hit the ejector seats ejection button – duh? – and had pretty much sent herself across the country! I didn't even know about the upgrade to my vehicle myself! I loved the boom sound it had made, too. "You know how I forget these things..." I lied. I didn't even know about it.

"SHUT IT!"

Well, it isn't too bad. A nice gentle breeze, a small sunrise, and a few laughs. What could go wrong? I shouldn't have thought that question... prepare for bad things, Edith. Stay frosty. "C'mon, get up. A few scratches and a bruised thigh. You've been through worse, I'm sure."

"Maybe, but you don't know that..." she says, a hint of menace in her voice.

"You certain about that?"

"Yes! How the heck could you know?"

"Not yet, duh! But... lets say my Dad has something that will..."

I know that might scare her.

Mia gives me an odd look as she limps towards the car. "Are you trying to make me crap myself so I don't go in that house with you?"

I grin. "Never.."

Ah, the joys of friendship. Magic, much? We both get into the car, and as I turn the ignition, something is bothering my thoughts. Maybe I subconsciously saw an enemy unit, or another threat, or an ally maybe? Whatever it is, it's unsettled me.

Hmm... I look around. "Mia, can you see anything around – "

Then I see it. A box, which looks like a present, sitting in the back seat. Odd, that wasn't there before. Should I be happy or sad? Hmm... I don't really know what to feel. I pick it up and spin it around in my palm. It is very small. "Is this from you?"

"Uh... no...?"

"Wonder what it is. What do you think?" I pass it over to her, but she violently throws it back.

"Open the god damn thing and find out!" Mia sort of shouts. I'm taken aback. What the hell just happened? "Just... ARGH! You're a stressful girl to be around..."

"People say that I'm 'annoyingly gabby and act silly too much of the time'," I repeat what Dad had said to me once, "So... I think that is a given."

"Whatever you say, Edith."

When she turns around to look out of her window, I pretend to hit her and push her by performing them actions around her, whilst sticking my tongue out. "Geez..." I begin to open the 'present' of sorts and I am greeted by a hard piece of metal with some bright lights.

I squint to get a better look. I swear, Mia, if this is a joke...

And then the lights resolve into numbers, and a helpful hint above them identifies the item: BOMB 2.0.

Oh, crap. Do I ever get a bloody break? "Bomb!" I shout at Mia. "BOMB! GET THE HECK OUT OF THE CAR!"

"W-what?" Her expression is one of horror as she catches sight of the bomb in my hand. It reads twenty seconds.

"I said, get out!" I kick my door open – using handles are too mainstream – and quickly push the ejector button again during my rolling exit. Mia is rooted to her chair in fear, and so flies high into the air until she lands far far away. "Weeeeee..." I mutter. Oh, yeah. The bomb! "When faced with an assassination attempt via explosive weaponry, try and make the killer think you are down. Use the stupidity to your advantage." Another thing Gru had told me. I throw the bomb back in the car and dive for cover.

Everything seems to slow down. I can only hear my breathing, the slow steady pace of breaths. The wind shakes a nearby tree slightly, and it feels like I'm in a trance as I fix my gaze onto it, waiting for the inevitable explosion.

Boom. Epic explosion! Very enjoyable. Now, to find Mia...

"You flipping douche! You could've warned me!" Mia says from across the street. Well, there goes any hope of tricking the assassin.

"Now that is an explosion!" With no need to maintain an incognito state, I let loose my true excitement. "Verrückt would have loved that!"

"I can tell, just be her name."

"Whatever... anyway, lets get moving. Can't wait out here waiting to be picked off all day!"

"Look, I'm sorry about before. I'm stressed out here."

"It's fine." I give her a friendly hug. "We'll both get through this, right?"

She seems to perk up a bit, if her small smile is anything to go by. Result! "Yeah! But, we have no transportation..."

"I guess we're walking." I say, deadpan. No time for joking, not now. "I need some sleep anyway. Lets see if we can find a hotel or something."

"Lets hope they don't think we're a couple."

"Ew...?" I give her an uncertain look.

"What? It happens, believe me. And this is coming from personal experience."

I shake my head and begin to wander deeper into the town. Mia trails behind. "So, what were we talking about before?"

"Hm?"

"Before the car exploded." There is no-one on the street. Time to tell more stories. "Something about America."

"Oh, right. Yeah. I was asking about what happened on your first job, and whether Verrückt was involved in the... bad aspects of the mission. Then you said, 'you win' but before you could speak I pressed that stupid red button, thinking it was nothing, that made me fly into the air and made me poo myself. And here we are now." Mia said, visibly trying to keep a straight face.

I giggle. Strange, considering how bad the next story will be. "Oh, yeah! Well, lets see... we were in the US, more specifically Texas. Some sort of conspiracy job needed doing – well, wanted doing – and Verrückt got word. We signed up, and met up in Dallas the following day."

"When did you begin?"

"Later that evening. We met up with the contact who instructed us to create a network of cameras, people, and safehouses, whilst 'acquiring' weaponry and vehicles for the 'cause', as they put it. I was pretty bored because it was so simple and easy, so I went back to the contact. We'll call her Cupcake. She instructed me and Verrückt to continue, and she'd have something else lined up afterwards."

"Why call her Cupcake?"

"You wouldn't understand why. Really, it's because she seemed blood thirsty, but that's all I can be bothered to say right now."

Mia raises an eyebrow. "Seems legit." Sarcasm... ugh, enough with the sarcasm!

"Sure is," I say. "So... yeah..."

"Hmm... people say I'm good at working stuff out. If you could – " I know where this is going " – explain in more detail, maybe I can help." Yup, I was right. Why do people force things with me? "If you understand."

"I obviously do. Why does everyone think I... oh, forget it..." I mutter.

"You still aren't explaining."

Mia... shut it... "You don't say? Let's just find a place to rest for a few hours, and we'll move out by nightfall. More cover to move with, although I'd prefer another big bang to happen." I take a deep breath. "Then... then I'll tell ya."

"Okay, sure." Mia's sudden change from anger and frustration to understanding is strange, to say the least. Haha, what if all of this is a dream? "Better get moving quickly."

"Relax, I'm sure no-one will be after us. Not now, anyway. Chill. Talk for a while, all that."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Logic," I explain. "If the assassin isn't working alone, he or she would have had a backup shooter, but apparently they don't. Also, if they were nearby, this person would have realized the failure and probably would have already tried to finish the job someway else. Because neither have happened, I assume either he or she thinks we're dead, or is too far away to make another attempt, and must be working alone. Or is stupid enough not to have a backup plan."

"Uh-huh," Mia said, yawning. She probably didn't catch a word of that. Then again, neither did I! I just said whatever came to mind. "If you say so."

I sigh. "Yes, now, we need to think of transportation. I'm not walking home."

"Dave is still in the area," Mia says, looking at her small phone. "His GPS marker shows his platoon is five miles west. I doubt he'd mind if we asked for a few favours."

"I don't want him risking his unit for me. Too many have already been lost like that."

"I was thinking more of a drop-off of something to use..."

"Not a car."

"Helicopter?"

I pause. "Hell yeah!"

Once we found a place to stay – it took a while, because the town is confusing and compact – I left Mia to sleep while I went for another walk. I had a few reasons to do this. One – I was going to do a small recon to find an area where Dave's unit or Delta 9-2 (Delta 9-2 is my ex-villain squad, and yes I made a squad to do a giant op in Antarctica... more on that later, maybe) could land to provide assistance. Two – eat. Not only had I failed to sleep for the past few days, I haven't eaten either. Three – to think.

Things had better stay as lucky as they have been at the moment, or we're all going down.

Strange, could've sworn I had escaped the enemy yesterday. But, that's just it, isn't it? You back yourself to get away and this is where you end up, scared and still on therun against an unknown amount of enemies and their leaders. Sure, that Boxy Freak may have been well respected, but every crimelord in his network now want me dead?

It's not even funny anymore. It's just dumb.

She knows though... she knows... and I know she knows...

Well, she did know. Little Miss Crazy is probably underneath the rubble of a multi-billion dollar skyscraper now.

I returned the hotel, and Mia was now awake watching TV.

"We've had some bad luck today, eh?" I say, trying to make conversation.

"No, not really. Apart from that failure of a bomb, it's been the first easy day in weeks. For me, anyways."

I raise an eyebrow. "You'll have to explain that further one day."

"What? I don't know everything about you, you don't know everything about me." She shrugs. "Seems like fair trade."

"I guess so. Anyway, I'm gonna get a few hours. We still need to keep moving. It just isn't urgent. But it'll help." I yawn. Only a few hours until we leave, and I'm not driving whatever we're getting whilst tired.

That, would be pointless.

"Okay, later."

"Later."