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Chapter 13: Connection

Sweeping down the highway at an ostentatiously fast pace were two BMWs that contained three persons total. All of whom had a high-danger risk and strikingly low expectations for the situation. The pink vehicle in the lead swept through an enormously large puddle which in turn splashed the following car.

Elliot, who was in the driver's seat of the second car, groaned tediously.

"You seem very tense all of a sudden." Danny, the passenger, commented.

"No dip!" Elliot chomped.

Danny's natural anxiety towards situations like this had been numbed over time. Honestly, he wasn't even that scared anymore, so why did Elliot now seem to be?

The leading car stopped suddenly in front of a large bank. Elliot did not seem to be surprised that Vlad would choose this place to make a scene. However, Danny thought that "Obvious" was not Vlad's style. Danny just kept the thought in the back of his head for now.

Paulina once again opened a video chat with Elliot on the mini-screen. "Vlad's inside, of course, so arm yourselves well."

"Of course." Elliot said flatly. He and Danny loaded up as practiced many times in the CorUPT base.

"What if it's a trap?" Danny reminded Elliot subtly.

"That's why I said "of course"…because it so obviously is one…"

"Obviously isn't usually the way Vlad rolls."

"It is today. Remember, Danny, there are some people who are just too crazed up for you to possibly follow the way their brains work."

Danny shrugged. "I suppose that is true."

The boys met Paulina by the front. Gosh she looked so cool in that yellow suit of hers with her long wavy hair swooshing around trying to break loose from that ponytail. The girl was a gem, and she knew it. Fortunately, that was far from her mind right now. She cocked her blaster, ready to fire. Elliot and Danny did the same with their weapons. Then the three of them marched in swiftly. Silently they creeped through the halls, listening. But nothing could be heard. Vlad was still here, right? He had to be.

"Paulina? Elliot?" It was the voice of a girl only a few years older than them.

The trio remained silent and scoped the place out with stealth.

A thin orange-haired girl appeared in a surrendering form. "Elliot." She got his attention.

Elliot panned over. "Jazz? Jazz Fenton?"

"Shh. Vlad captured me, but I escaped."

"Is he still here?" Paulina questioned.

"Yes, but come quietly. Keep your weapons at the ready." Jazz stated. All of a sudden, Elliot pulled her into a hug. She laughed.

Danny and Paulina exchanged awkward looks and then pressed forward with Jazz in the lead. Elliot pretended to follow them, but just as he caught sight of Vlad, he ducked out and went running in the opposite direction. Danny and Paulina were distracted by then. However, Jazz was not. Vlad was hovering dead center in the room. There were all sorts of broken pieces of the building surrounding him as if he had some sort of temper tantrum. Beside him on the ground stood a blond man which Danny recognized as, "You! Jeremy Manson! You scoundrel!"

Jazz pulled out a bottle from her pocket, slipped a pill in her mouth, and swallowed it. Her skin began to stretch and her body reverted into the form of a middle-aged woman…Pamela Manson!

Danny scowled. "El—" He looked around, panicking slightly at his partner's absence.

Paulina put on a brave face and forced her way through the garbage surrounding Vlad and his group of goons. Vlad didn't even flinch because at the snap of a finger, one of his men decked Paulina and kicked her in the abdomen causing her to be temporarily rendered unconscious.

Danny sprang to life and tried to fight them off despite the fact that he was sadly outnumbered. What the boy found strange was the fact that even though the foes were fully-armed, they chose to fight hand to hand. Were they…giving him a fair chance? Did they think he didn't notice? Apparently so. Danny fired his blaster right in Jeremy's face. The blond man fled out of cowardice. Unfortunately, Pamela, Vlad, and the other three were not that easy to shake.

Paulina began to stir, though she didn't let the others notice. For once in her life, she didn't call attention to herself. With excellent muscle control, she swept one of the nearby enemies onto the floor, jumped up steadily, and landed in a very precise stance all in a matter of less than three seconds.

If Danny had been watching, he would have been mighty impressed.

Paulina herself was now in what she liked to call "hero mode" where she stopped worrying about the emotions and hindrances of everyday life and focused on the good of the people. Her own life mattered little to her at the moment. Getting out of this skirmish was of much higher demand. "Hiya!" She yelled as she unleashed the full force of her prowess, which was backed up by seven years of mixed martial arts, two years of dance, ten years of gymnastics, three year of cheerleading, two years of soccer, and one year of figure skating. Still, she was no match for the more than worthy rivals which she now faced. Paulina was swaddled by three of the foes in a matter of minutes.

Danny was surprised. If the enemy could just as easily "wrap-up" a person who had far more training than he himself, why did they not disarm him in the same fashion.

"The answer's perfectly clear, my boy." A ghostly whisper invaded the youth's eardrum. Danny gasped. He was completely paralyzed by the ghost's chilling breath. Monster, that's what Vlad was. And a highly intelligent one too. "Feel uncomfortable, Danny? Is it because your tiny mind can't possibly begin to comprehend mine? That's right, be scared. Deep down inside you know the truth…I killed Sam, studied the body, extracted the mutated brain tissue that allowed you to communicate, and then implanted it into myself."

"You're a sick twisted man."

"I know. But you've got to at least give me credit for creativity." Vlad waved his hand in front of Danny's face. Some kind of milky-blue gas clouded Danny's head. He moaned as his sinuses stuffed up immediately. Eventually the headache was so intense that he gave in. Now Danny was out cold.

Elliot was back in the BMW debating on how to go about his plan, which, had now just become extremely complicated. He took a deep breath and tried to persuade his foot to step on the gas. It wouldn't budge. His heart was still pounding. As a child, Elliot used to want to be a military hero. In a weird sort of way, he had sort of gotten to the point of doing it. He couldn't fail now! Not when the stakes were so high!

And so the BMW charged, at high speed, nose-first into the wall. And it kept going, making a path for itself along the hallway. That's the cool thing about cars altered by the agency; they were virtually indestructible from the outside. Oh, and they also had a self-destruct procedure that could nuke an entire county.

As Elliot was nearing the enemy, he remembered what he was doing this for—for Jazz, Paulina, Danny, parents, and all the other people he cared about. "I'll save you Jazz." He muttered under his breath as he rounded the final corner. "Even if it's the last thing I do."

Vlad and his little followers were taking their good old time to get in their vehicle and leave. Elliot took most of them by surprise as he crashed the party. In fact he set the BMW on a collision course with the creepy white mini-van. Elliot jumped out of the car and started blasting at Vlad, who had flown out, with everything he had. Most of Vlad's goons seemed to be unconscious now.

"Tell you what, kid, I'll make you a deal." Vlad said slowly.

Elliot was silent.

"You can keep the girl. She is useless to me. Not that she'll be of any use to you now that she's been put in a coma, but yes, you may keep her, if you shut up, turn around, and walk the other way without firing one more blast on that pathetic little gun of yours."

Elliot fired several blasts prematurely.

"Your choice." Vlad answered. He began to unleash some energy of his own, which intimidated Elliot a bit. "You'll be lucky to leave alive now, boy." Vlad said in a slightly threatening tone. Indeed, he was probably plotting to end Elliot's life here and now.

Fortunately, the young man would not allow that. It was time to induce the next stage in his own plan. In the blink of an eye, Elliot launched everything he had at Vlad. There was no reason to hold back anymore now that Elliot had received the insight he came in there to get. Elliot was starting to be able to predict this monster. The youth jumped into the car in a flash, and started driving. Vlad chased the BMW until it was clear out of the building.

Elliot sighed and started to relax his entire body. Things could be worse. Definitely. Now at least he knew the next step or two to take. The rest of this game would just have to play itself.