1

People say there's a blue sky somewhere…like a silver lining of hope or something.
Where is my silver lining?
My name is Tom Tremblay. I go by Dread, because every day is another day to dread. I dye my hair white, and I don't go anywhere without my lucky goggles on top of my head. They were my grandpa's from the Korean War. He was a pilot. He passed the goggles onto me in his will. He died in his second year serving.
My life had fallen under. I'd been doing drugs until my parents found out and disowned me. I packed what was mine, and left.
A couple months later drug dealers pulled me off the street. They make me work for them and cover when the cops come sniffing around.
The drug dealers, Warsaw and Angelo, never let me leave. I'd tried to sneak out at night, but they'd caught me every time. At night the tie me up and throw me down on the stiff lumpy cot I sleep on.
One night I had the most eerie feeling that I was being watched. I got up on my knees and looked out the window. No one there. I laid back down on the cot, and stared up at the ceiling. Slowly, I drifted off to sleep.

Everything was foggy as I woke up.
"Good you're awake," someone said.
It was a girl's voice I could tell. A girl's voice that meant business.
My vision cleared and I stared up at an olive-skinned girl clad in armor. The belts that made an "X" across her chest held grenades, and a pair of swords rested at her hips in leather sheathes. She was short, at least five-four, and very fit as if she worked out.
I looked around. Smog filled the rust colored skies, remains of technology, buildings, and people littered the ground. It was like a war zone.
"What are you waiting for?" she asked impatiently. "Time is money, and we have none to waste."
She held out a calloused hand. I took it, and she pulled me up. I'd finally noticed what bright-colored blue eyes she had. I mean, her eyes were so bright they looked as if they could glow in the dark. Her hair was an equally bright pink.
"Name's Harley," she said. "Introduce yourself on the way."
She started to walk off in the opposite direction. Confused, I joined her.
"I'm Dread," I said. "Where are we going?"
"To start your mission," she said.
"What mission?" I asked.
"The one where you achieve freedom from your captors."
"But…"
"Less talky, more walky."
She broke into a run, me trailing her wondering what the hell was going on.

"Inside," she ordered, holding the flap to a dirty war tent open.
I stepped inside the tent. Four others were standing around doing this and that. All of them, including Harley, looked about my age. What were a bunch of sixteen-year-olds doing in a war zone?
Harley entered after me, and began introductions.
She pointed to a girl who looked like her. "This chick right here is Rabbit," Harley said. "She's my sister, and my assistant strategist."
Next, she pointed to a guy with a black Mohawk springing up about three inches off his head, and guns and other arsenal in his leather jacket, pants, and combat boots.
"That's Nexus," she said. "He's our arsonist."
She, then, pointed to a guy with shaggy blond hair in the corner fashioning a sword from a sheet of metal. He looked up for a second, and on his face was a fresh bright red scar that went from his hairline to his neck. He nodded at us, then went back to work.
"That 'handsome' guy is Armory," she said, air quoting handsome with her fingers.
"I heard that," Armory muttered. "You're not exactly America's Next Top Model, Harley."
She scoffed. "He makes our swords, knives, armor, and whatnot. Like a blacksmith."
Finally, she pointed to a tall girl in a brown jumpsuit. Her head was shaved, and she wore aviator sunglasses.
"That's Hillegard," Harley said. "She's the pilot. She can fly anything from a fighter plane to a train."
Harley took my arm and lead me to the table in the middle of the room.
We sat down in the little wooden stools, and the others stood around us.
"Here's what's going on," Harley began. "We know you've been captured by the enemy. We're here to help you gain your freedom. This is where your journey begins."
Rabbit pulled out a large map and spread it on the table.
"This is where we're going," Rabbit explained, pointing to an area highlighted in red.
"It's where we'll find the first part of your freedom," Harley finished.
"Part?" I asked. "Are we building something?"
"Yes," Rabbit said.
"Now let's get going," Harley said. "That's all you need to know for now."
Harley rose and crossed the room. She tossed a handgun to me, then slung an AK-47 across her slim shoulders.
"Stay close, Dread," she said. "I'll lead you in."