Please read the first book (Gears) before starting this one.
It was a dim and dirty alley, the last place any normal person would want to be standing, but there was a man there. He was leaning casually against a wall. His face was long, tight, and pale. His eyes were dark and narrow. His lips seemed to be permanently curled into a scowl so strong that he always appeared either haughty or intimidating. But despite his dark physical appearance he always dressed extremely well. The suit he was wearing was almost new.
Motionless he stood and waited for something. It was something that he was almost afraid to admit might never happen. Still, he was willing to put up with all of the garbage in the world in the hope that the thing he was waiting for would eventually arrive.
He hated everything about his life the past several years, yet at the same time he had come to be more accustomed to it. Things like the foul odor of smog, the dreadful traffic, and even the stupidity of people no longer bothered him as much as they once did.
Oh how he loathed people, even though his life forced him to work with them constantly. He couldn't get away from them, their problems, and their ever-changing emotions. They got worked up over such trivial things like how their relationship was going, or when their next paycheck would come, or seeing the name of someone that they liked in a star on the sidewalk. Everything he observed about the people, particularly in this part of town, was made to display their obsession with fame, glamour, and other insignificant nonsense.
Every day he took a few hours to stand alone, away from the others, to think about things and to wait. If it was ever going to happen then it would occur somewhere around here. It would be very obvious, and feel something just like… that.
Wait, could that possibly be it? He sniffed the air, and there was something else there beyond the smog. It was less of an odor and more of a sensation, but he had trained himself to memorize it, and it was coming from somewhere close by.
All the anticipation for this moment had almost faded away, but now the man was filled with new vigor. He walked out of the alley and followed the mysterious feeling. Walking speedily he always looked around him. No person noticed anything strange about his behavior. They were used to seeing things peculiar things all the time.
As he approached the printing shop he felt the sensation intensify. This was starting to make sense; he completely understood now, and there was no way that this could be a false impression. Carefully he sneaked behind the store and waited behind the dumpster in the shadows, watching the back door.
It didn't take long for the door to open and something to step out. Its presence caused the feeling to be stronger than ever.
The man was excited but wary. He watched the figure intently and then got the courage to take a small step towards it. However, it barely noticed the man's movement and took off running. He pursued it and shouted angrily. "Stop!"
It was no use. He was too late; the thing had escaped quicker than he had hoped. However, it was not a complete waste because now he had the evidence that he needed. His mouth twisted slowly into an awkward lopsided smile, something that had almost never been experienced before. There was no time to lose. He needed to leave now.
He ran to his car as quickly as he could. Now he was headed to a familiar place to find someone he required, a person he needed information from, hoping that his discovery didn't have to be in vain.
It didn't take long to reach the old house and soon he parked on the curb and got outside. The place was simply depressing. It was so run down that it was not easy to think of someone actually living there. He went up to the front door and knocked loudly.
There was some movement inside and the door opened. A much older and dirtier man was inside and his eyes grew wide with fear at the sight of the visitor. The intruder barged inside and the old man ran away to another room.
The inside of the house was just as awful looking as the outside. There were cobwebs everywhere and dust on every surface. The paint and wallpaper on the walls were cracked and peeling off. The furniture was faded with pieces falling apart. The place had not been kept in good shape like a home. Instead, it looked more like a shelter for somebody who had given up on normal life and wanted to hide away from everyone.
The resident's voice came nervously from around the corner. "I told you I didn't want to see you again, Mr. Johnson. Why won't you leave me alone?"
Mr. Johnson followed the voice and spotted the old man again. He showed his evil smile.
"I'll call the police!" the old man wailed, his voice shaking.
"No you wouldn't." Mr. Johnson argued. "Otherwise you would have done it already. But you know they wouldn't believe you, right? There's too many things that you wouldn't let them know, things that they must never know. What kind of story could you make up for them?"
Johnson took an old artifact from a shelf and smashed it on the ground.
"Please don't hurt me."
Now the intruder knocked the whole shelf down. Everything hit the floor with a loud crash which startled the other.
The old man cowered in a corner. "Alright, what do you want?"
"I need to know how to fight." Johnson demanded. "I have the evidence now. I saw the enemy with my own eyes."
The other lifted his head up to face him. "But… how is that possible?"
"Many years have gone by and everyone has forgotten the truth, but you haven't now have you? You are the last living witness of seeing them in our world. So I need your help to stop them."
"Well how many were there?"
"Only one, but there will be many more soon. I know it."
"But why does this matter to you?"
"That's none of your business! Just tell me what you know."
The old man warily got onto his feet and hobbled over to an ancient desk covered with an insanely thick layer of dust. He opened a drawer and picked up a small glass vial filled with liquid, his hands shaking. "Do you know what this is?"
Mr. Johnson's dark eyes widened. "Oh yes… of course."
"This is the oldest but simplest recipe. I can teach you to replicate it. And it is the most effective weapon you could use against the enemy. Extremely dangerous to them, but it is harmless to anything else. They called it the dip."