Sorry for the delay in getting this chapter up. It just took longer to write than I thought it would. Enjoy!
Hannah Henderson unbuckled the seat belt. Charles, who was seated next to her in the back passenger seat of his car, climbed out. He quickly went over to her side and opened the door. He took her hand and helped her out. Charles wrapped an arm around her and helped lead her to her front door. Hannah glanced at Charles’ face. Oh dear, she silently dreaded. I’m gonna’ get it.
“Thank you, Uncle,” Hannah thanked. They had reached the door and he opened it, taking her inside and he seated her on her couch. Charles took a seat directly opposite her and looked her straight in the eye. Here we go. “Why did you start telling Anne the truth, Hannah?”
Hannah sighed and shook her head. “She recognized me, worked out that I was a mole. There wasn’t any point in keeping things hidden, especially since she probably was going to be killed,” she defended herself.
“It was wrong!!!!! Anastasia was there, unbeknownst to us, she would have most definitely heard you,” Charles argued.
She scoffed. “I think she was close to finding out, anyway. You were going to have her killed, so why does it matter if she heard?” Hannah suddenly felt a pain in her chest and began coughing. She grabbed her chest, trying to draw in breath. She suddenly felt water being gently poured down her throat. Charles took the glass away with genuine sadness in his eyes.
“You alright, Hannah?” he asked, placing the glass on a nearby table.
She nodded. “Why didn’t you just kill her as soon as we had confirmation of her beginning investigations? You hesitated, almost like you did not want to kill her just yet. Why?”
Understanding dawned in Charles’ eyes about who Hannah was talking about. He was silent for a few moments, pondering how to answer. “I was hoping…that she could still help us get rid of Zion,” he finally answered.
“That’s not true, and you know it,” Hannah pressed him, reading her uncle like a book.
He stood up. “Alright. I did not kill her just then for the same reason that I have decided to let you live out the last few miserable hours of your life,” he said and then he left. Once she heard the car leave, she breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed.
“Since I only have a short time left,” she muttered to herself as she stood up. She went over to her DVD shelf and looked at all her DVDs to pick a movie to watch. She had a craze for fantasy movies. Two-thirds of her DVDs were fantasy while the rest was all action. After considering what to watch, she picked up the movie Prince Caspian and went to her DVD player and inserted the disc. Once the menu came up, she pressed play. It was just starting when she heard the door open.
“Forget something, Uncle?” Hannah asked without turning around. She felt the cold muzzle of a gun ram into her head.
“You and I need to have a conversation, Henderson,” a cold voice spoke.
“General Kingsley, what’s the status of the military?” Charles asked over his phone.
“Have arrived on land, Mr Ville,” Bellah Kingsley replied. “And have begun moving in.”
“Wonderful,” Charles congratulated. “When’s my coronation as Emperor due to take place, again?”
“Um…tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m.,” Bellah informed Charles. “How’s it been, um…pretending to be Kyen Collins?”
“Great. Everyone’s fooled. Even Hannah, so that means I must be convincing,” Charles replied. “I must say, you were very convincing as well when you pretended to die,” he added.
“Thanks. Goodbye,” and Bellah and Charles both hung up.
Ivanka sat on a seat directly opposite Hannah, who was on the couch. Ivanka kept the gun aimed at Hannah’s head. Prince Caspian continued playing, albeit very quietly. “I wondered if you’d come and visit me, Ivanka,” Hannah smiled sweetly at her. Ivanka’s senses immediately went on hyper-alert. She had scanned each room that she had entered and there was no cameras and none of the rooms were bugged. Because Ivanka still had her black Aviator glasses on which could do such scans, she quickly did a scan of Hannah, but, thankfully, Hannah was clean. But she still was weary about a trap.
“On the name change register, why was my parents’ signatures on it when they were meant to be dead by then?” Ivanka questioned.
“Because Petrus and I, who were being your replacement parents at the time, signed those names. And it was a law that the parents’ signatures have to be on it as a sign of approval. So, having already changed your parents’ names on the birth certificate, Petrus and I just had to sign those names and it was all legal,” Hannah replied.
Ivanka realised that Hannah was telling the truth. “Okay. On the papers that stipulated that Petrus was to be my carer, why wasn’t his signature on it?” Ivanka questioned.
“That was all done at the time the League of Nations was being set up and in all the fuss and work…we just forgot to have Romanus sign,” Hannah replied. Ivanka saw that Hannah was, again, telling the truth.
“And what really happened to my parents?” Ivanka asked.
Father, what do we do? Alexei silently prayed. They had been discussing how to rescue Anne, but, with no idea exactly where Anne was being held, they could not do anything.
“I’ve got it!” Einstein jumped up shouting. “I can’t believe I forgot about it!”
“Forgot about what?” David asked.
Ivanka waited for Hannah to reply. She noticed Hannah had a pained expression on her face, but just figured it was due to being forced to talk about all this. “There was two twin babies. Adorable, cute, innocent. Then, one night, there was explosions. The twins were separated-” Hannah fell forward onto the floor, clutching her chest, writhing in pain.
Ivanka ran to the kitchen and over to the medical cupboard. Opening it, she searched the bottles for something to give Hannah. Then she realised something about all the labels. All the medication was for brain tumours and leukemia. She really is gonna’ die, Ivanka thought. Remembering her medical training, she found the right bottle of pills, filled a glass of water and went quickly back to the lounge where Hannah was kneeling on the floor, gasping for breath. Ivanka placed one of the pills in the glass of water, put the glass to Hannah’s mouth and got her to start drinking.
Hannah drank it all. “Thanks,” Hannah said, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “I needed that.” Hannah just sat down on the floor, not bothering to pull herself back onto the couch. Ivanka sat down as well. “The twins were separated-” Hannah burst into another fit of violent coughs.
“Don’t you remember, David?” W.J. Einstein said. “You had me weave into everyone’s clothes tracking devices recently. Your wife included!”
“Oh, yes! I remember,” David commented. “Well, turn on your homing device and see what happens.”
Einstein sat down infront of one of the computers and began typing. “How long does this tracking device last for?” Zipporah asked.
“Well, it lasts until the clothes are wrecked,” Einstein replied. “I have turned it…Ah ha! She is being held in a prison compound about ten kilometres from the Peak.”
“Fergus, activate the Ops. We are going to need everything you can find about that place,” David ordered.
Hannah knew she would die soon and that she needed to convey the information, but the pain in her head and body was making it very hard to think properly. “How are the twins important to the issue of my parents?” she heard Ivanka ask her.
“Just…listen,” Hannah instructed, trying to concentrate. “The twins names were…are Alexei and Anastasia Ivanov. The children of King Edward X of Biovea and his wife, Anne.” She saw Ivanka nod.
“Yes. You helped, or partly helped raise her and she was in the Chamber,” Ivanka said. “My parents,” she urged.
Everything became darker. “Only one of your parents died on the night…that we claimed they both died,” Hannah continued. Every breath was painful. “Your father, a king, refused to join the League of Nations when the Collins called the meeting to discuss…the idea of a totalitarian government.” She coughed. Things became even more darker. Her heartbeat became slower. “So, Ignatius Collins – no, don’t interrupt – had your father killed and blew up…the palace. Your mother and twin brother escaped. I took you away to her unbeknownst to the rest of your immediate family.”
Hannah kidnapped me? As a baby? Ivanka looked at the dying woman, who had torn her away from her family, and felt anger rising. Hannah was closing her eyes. “You took me away from my family?” Ivanka said, anger making her voice rise. “What was my father’s name? Who’s my mother and my brother?” she asked. Hannah would not respond. Ivanka shook her until Hannah’s eyes opened and focused on her.
“My father’s name. My mother and brother. Who are they?” Ivanka repeated, emphasising each word.
Hannah said something, but her voice was so quiet, that Ivanka did not catch the words. She leaned down. “Say that again,” she asked.
“The documents explain everything,” and Hannah closed her eyes. She mumbled something else.
“What?” Ivanka asked. No response. Ivanka checked Hannah’s pulse, hoping for a beat.
But Hannah was dead.
Ivanka slowly stood up. My dad was a king? He was opposed to the League? He was not even a League agent? The documents…what documents? She thought about what Hannah had mumbled before dying. It had sounded like she had said ‘The United Houses’ and ‘the key is…’ before she died. “Well, first things first,” Ivanka muttered. “Look for the documents.”
She opened everything, left nothing unturned and looked under everything.
In Hannah’s bedroom, which was the last room she had to check, Ivanka rubbed her forehead, trying to think. I’ve looked everywhere. Hannah, where would you put them? And what was she trying to tell me with the United Houses? And there was something about a key.
She looked absentmindedly at a painting above Hannah’s dresser. Whoa! It was a painting of the Collins and Owens family crests side-by-side. Below it was the words The United Houses with a key just below it.
Ivanka remembered learning about it in school – to commemorate the historic event of the two powerful bloodlines – or houses – coming together. That’s what she meant! And, the key…is what? She stared at the key in the painting. That was not in the original we studied in school. Keys lock things. And also unlock or open things, Ivanka mused. A crazy idea began forming in her mind. She went over to the painting, reached up and pressed the key. There was a click! Ivanka stepped back. The painting swung open outwards.
Inside was a big envelope.
IN THE SKY
Z6 flew through the air. In the cargo hold, Alexei, Veronica, Fergus, Zipporah, John, Josephine La Magne, Sarah Mooney, Axel Diesel, Ellen Plummer and Joe Plummer were all waiting by the auxiliary doors. “Everyone ready?” Alexei asked, holding his helmet by his side. They all nodded. They had their jet packs and weapons ready and on. “Helmets on,” he ordered. They all put on their helmets.
“Donald, do you have the invisibility cloak on?” Alexei asked over the radio in the helmets.
“Yes, Alexei. No-one can see or hear us and no radars or scanners will pick us up,” Donald, the pilot, replied through the radio.
“Great. We are all ready. Open auxiliary doors,” Alexei said.
“Copy.” The auxiliary doors opened. Cold air rushed in. “Father, we pray for Your Wisdom and guidance and protection. Let Your Will be done,” Alexei prayed.
“Amen,” the others said.
“NOW!!!” And he jumped out. He began free falling, so pressed a button on his jet pack and it burst into life. Alexei looked behind him to see the others turn on their jet packs after they jumped.
Donald watched as they dove out of the plane. He turned on the holo-screen and called David. “Yes?” David said, his holo-image appearing.
“They have exited, making their way to the compound now,” Donald reported.
“Good. I’m in position to pick them up,” David said.
Ivanka sat down on Hannah’s bed after she shut the secret compartment’s door. She looked at the big, yellow envelope. It said in big red letters TOP SECRET. Ivanka broke the sealer and pulled out some papers and printed photographs. She put them on the bed beside her and looked back in the envelope to make sure she had taken it all out. There was a small piece of paper inside, so she reached in and pulled it out. It was a note.
In these documents you will discover who you really are. These were meant to have been destroyed, but I stole them and have hidden them, in the hope that one day, I could mend the damage I’ve down by showing you the truth and so you can find your family. I am so, so sorry for taking you from your family – I realize now how wrong I was in everything I did. I hope you can forgive me.
My deepest apologies,
Ivanka carefully put it down to one side and picked up the papers and photographs, TOP SECRET stamped on each one. She started on the papers. They described in detail of the meeting of the world leaders and how Edward X adamantly refused to participate and left. As she read, she discovered that the Collins family had the chief of the Eden police and head of the Eden military – General Truman – working for them so that if the hit men’s plot failed they would not get in any trouble. The hit men – Haman, Dov, and Mark – had easily entered the palace under the cover of discussing a new military invention. There was also some reports from Hannah about the layout of the palace and the grounds and a detailed report about the daily life of the royal family. While reading about the assassination and what the hit men did to the palace, Ivanka wondered, Why on earth would you blow up the palace? Wouldn’t the Emperor’s representative need to live there?
Axel, Joe, Ellen and Josephine swooped in low. They had to deal with the compounds peripheral guards. The Light Force guarding the compound shouted to each other and raised their weapons. Axel swiped his hand infront of his visor and it zoomed in on the weapons aimed at them. It also did a scan. “Uh-oh. Guys, it’s laser guns aimed at us,” Axel announced.
“Big deal. We have those, too. Remember the plan. Axel, Ellen, you two bank right. Josephine, you and I will bank left,” Joe instructed over the radio.
Ellen and Axel banked right, green laser beams flying around them. They loaded their guns and fired rapidly at the super soldiers. They saw Josephine and Joe doing the same to the other super soldiers. Their targets cried out and dropped to the ground. Axel and Ellen landed and checked the pulses. None. “They’re dead,” Ellen announced.
“Same here,” Joe confirmed.
“Good. You four stay there and keep watch. I’ll send Sarah and Fergus up to help. The rest of us will find Mum,” Alexei ordered.
“Copy,” they acknowledged. Sarah and Fergus flew over and joined Josephine, Axel, Joe and Ellen.
Oh, that’s why they blew up the palace! Ivanka realised. It was a distraction so that Hannah could steal Anastasia! Or, am I Anastasia? She looked at the photographs. The first one was of a king. On the back it said King Edward X of the Eden Province. “Is he my father?” Ivanka murmured to herself, using her finger to trace the king’s image. Tears pricked her eyes. She wished that she could remember her biological father. Be able, to just once, run up to her father, give her Dad a hug and be able to say “I love you, Daddy.” Petrus had cared for her, and she had used to love Petrus like a father, but now she hated Petrus. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she looked at the others. One was of Anne, another of two twin babies. On the back, it listed them as Alexei and Anastasia Ivanov. Another was of General Truman of the Eden military. He looked strangely familiar, a younger version of someone she had seen only recently, but she could not remember who. The rest of the photos were of three men – Haman, Dov, and Mark. Then, she looked closer at Mark Cahill.
Mark Cahill was Petrus Romanus.
EMPEROR’S PALACE, THE PEAK
Bellah swallowed the piece of meat. “Mmm! Charles, those cooks are really top notch!” Bellah praised.
Charles nodded in agreement. “So, Bellah, preparations for my coronation have been taken care of?” Charles enquired.
“Yes, Mr Ville. All is ready,” Bellah assured him.
Charles accepted the call on his phone. “Yes?” he answered. Bellah began devouring the meat. “WHAT!?!” He looked at Charles, who’s face had gone first pale, then red, purple, then pale again. “Ryan? Ryan?” Charles said. Oh, Ryan Bean, head of the prison compound security, Bellah remembered. Charles looked at his phone, then put it down on the table. Then he picked it up again.
“May I enquire as to the nature of the phone call?” Bellah nervously asked, the curiosity too much.
“People, I think from Ryan’s description they are Zionists, are attacking the prison compound. The phone disconnected and I can’t get him back,” Charles informed him, having unsuccessfully just tried to ring Ryan’s number. That’s not good, Bellah thought, fear rising. Charles punched in another number and put the phone to his ear. “Lance? It’s Charles here. Zionists are attacking the prison compound. I want you guys down there and get rid of them!” There was a pause as Charles listened to Lance, the head of the Super Cyborgs. “Ivanka? Send out the Squad,” and then he hung up.
“Search the rest of these buildings!” Alexei ordered. “Let me know as soon as you find Mum!”
The nanobots in the dead super soldiers bodies travelled to the bullet wounds and began repairing the body. Some went straight to the heart as certain nanobots were programmed to connect with the heart should it fail and use their power to get the heart pumping again. If the heart was in anyway damaged, those heart nano-bots would also repair it. They were bringing them back to life.
Ivanka read further through the papers. “Anastasia Ivanov was adopted by Mark Cahill, one of the hit men that disposed of Edward X. Mark took on the name of Petrus Romanus. Anastasia has been given the name Ivanka Brown, Ivanka being derived from her birth surname, Ivanov.”
Ivanka reread it.
Then everything made sense. Why she looked almost-exactly like Alexei. That memory of Anne looking at her when she was in a cot. Why Hannah was talking about those twins. It also explained what Anne was yelling about in the Chamber just as Ivanka was leaving.
Because it was her. She was Anastasia.
Then she heard a door open and close and someone running through the house. She quickly put everything back in the envelope and put it in her backpack. The bedroom opened and in ran Petrus.
“Go ahead, Dad,” Alexei said as he and Zipporah entered a room in the main building.
“Army tanks and Salamanders have just arrived and all arsenal is aimed at the compound,” David reported. Alexei stopped dead in his tracks and so did Zipporah, who was searching with him. “They are going to attack. You need to find your mother and get outta’ there.”
“Have you been spotted?” Alexei asked.
“No. They are not looking in our direction,” David assured him. “I would take them out, but, according to scans I have just done on them, I do not have any weapons that would be effective against them.”
“Everyone stop exactly where you are!” boomed a loud voice.
“It’s someone on a megaphone,” whispered David through the radio.
“I want this clean up to be easy,” the voice, a man, said. Alexei and Zipporah covered their eyes as there was a bright flash of light. Then a loud BOOM!!!! and they were thrown to the ground.
“Alexei? Zipporah? Everyone else? Can anyone hear me?” David kept repeating on the radio in his vehicle, after waiting briefly for a response after each question.
“I’m okay,” Sarah reported.
“I can hear you,” John reported.
“We’re fine,” Fergus and Veronica said.
“So is Zip and I,” Alexei said.
“Axel? Joe? Josephine? Ellen? Do you read me?” David called through the radio in the Ark.
BOOM!!! Another section of the peripheral wall collapsed.
But none of the last four answered.
“What are you doing here?” Anastasia queried, her voice cold.
“Looking for you,” Petrus said. “Come on! You need to hide!” He ran over and grabbed her arm, but she yanked it away. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” Anastasia announced. “You killed my father. I hate you!” She knew that was a dangerous thing to say at the moment, but just then she was angry, and when she was angry, she did not think clearly. She saw Petrus close his eyes and exhale.
“Look. Jadis, Miraz and some of the Light Force are on their way to kill you RIGHT NOW!!! You need to escape!” he said.
“I don’t believe you,” she stated.
There was a thumping noise from the front of the house. What is that? she wondered. She went to a window in Hannah’s bedroom and looked out. Members of the Light Force were lining the street. They’re trying to open the door, Anastasia realized. But why is Petrus, or Mark, whatever, trying to help me?
“LOOK OUT!!!!” Next thing she knew she was on the floor with bullets flying everywhere, shards of glass flying. Petrus was covering her with his body. “Come on! Let’s go!” He was up and tugging on her arm. Making up her mind, she put on her backpack and ran through the house, following Petrus. Petrus kicked open a screen door and they entered Hannah’s garage. Anastasia only had time to notice a closet, shelves lined with weapons and a motorbike before Petrus threw her a black leather jacket. She slipped it on and picked up a nearby helmet and put it on. Petrus then handed her a quiver of arrows and a bow. “The special ones,” he quickly explained, slinging them over her shoulders.
There was the sound of a door being broken done and people entering the house. Anastasia opened her backpack and took out her wallet, two daggers, her gun and her teleporter, but the batteries were dead. Petrus took the teleporter and the backpack and threw them in a nearby bin. “You can’t carry it all,” he said. Anastasia pocketed the wallet and she hung the weapons from her belt. The screen door began opening, so Petrus quickly pulled out his gun and fired through the door. “Go!” he yelled, reloading his gun.
Anastasia climbed on the motorbike, ignited the engine and floored it straight through the garage door.
Sarah and Fergus scrambled away from the fallen section of the wall. They had taken the laser guns from the dead super soldiers and were now attempting to fire at the tanks. But they would not fire whatsoever no matter what they tried. “Why isn’t it working?” Josephine snapped in frustration.
“Because,” a new voice said, “it only works with the DNA of the Light Force.”
They turned around and saw one of the super soldiers – one they had killed – standing there. Oh no, Josephine thought.
They had all gathered behind one of the buildings. They ducked as a building exploded. “…sorry, Alexei,” John said. “Anne’s simply not here.”
“No! That’s not possible! Einstein said she was here!” Veronica argued.
Alexei turned on his radio. “Zion, this is Alexei. Come in, please,” he said.
“What is it, Alexei?” asked Einstein, who was temporarily running Zion in their absence.
“Track where Mum is again, please,” Alexei ordered.
Come on! Alexei silently urged. BAM!!! They were knocked to the ground as a building nearby exploded. Alexei stood up, motioned for the others to follow him and ran for the cover into the building ahead of them. After they got inside, Alexei shut the door and locked it.
“Alexei, according to my equipment, Anne should be right there with you,” Einstein reported.
They all looked around. It was just a big, empty shed. Anne was not there. “Einstein, you’re equipment must be faulty. Mrs S is not here,” Fergus told him.
“I just ran another scan to be sure,” Einstein said. “She’s there.”
“No, she’s not,” Zipporah stated.
Anastasia skidded around a corner. Why did Petrus help me? He killed Dad, he helped make my life a lie. Why is he helping me escape? A truck up ahead blocked her path and some of the Light Force were around it. She looked behind and saw two Salamanders speeding towards her. The soldiers were focusing on replacing a tyre. She turned left, cutting across a corner onto another street. Anastasia checked the rear view mirror. The Salamanders had been forced to stop, just as she had hoped. Yes!
Axel reached for his gun, but discovered that it had fallen off when they had scrambled away to avoid being hit by the tanks firing. The super soldiers, who had all suddenly risen up from the dead, activated their light sabers and charged at him and the others.
“Oh, dear,” Ellen commented.
Einstein is never wrong, Alexei thought. So, how come Mum’s signal is registering here when she isn’t? “YAH, what is going on?” he prayed. He gave Alexei the answer. “Thank You.” Now it seemed so obvious, he did not know why they had not thought of it earlier.
“John, she’s underground. Find the entrance, but use the ground-penetrating radar,” Alexei ordered.
“Copy,” John shrugged. He wondered how Alexei knew, but did not ask. He turned on the radar that was built into his helmet. “Whoa! There’s an underground prison. Your mother is right beneath our feet. And there is a whole lot of other prisoners, as well,” John reported, moving around to search for the entrance.
They were all knocked to the ground as one end of the shed they were in exploded. The end John had been in. They scrambled to their feet and Alexei went to check on John. He found John’s corpse. Alexei felt like he had been punched in the gut and he felt sick – and guilty. I’m sorry, John. He pulled himself together and pushed his grief down to focus. “Y’HOVAH, I know there’s a quicker way to find the entrance,” Alexei prayed, his voice catching as tears began falling. “More of us could be killed trying to use the radar at this moment. Show me where the entrance is, please.” He took a deep breath to stop crying. Then, a picture came into his mind. “Thanks. Come on!” he said, standing up. “I think I know where to enter!”
She was almost at the exit. She could see it clearly ahead of her. But the gates were closed. And the Light Force there were rushing to their firing positions. Most likely to shoot me, Anastasia figured. She activated the auto-driver on her motorbike. She then reached up and grabbed one of the explosive-tipped arrows and her bow. She balanced carefully in her seat and notched the arrow, aimed and fired. The arrow hit a section of the wall next to the gates, blowing it up. As soon as the first arrow had left her bow, she had instantly grabbed another arrow and notched it. She fired the second one. The arrow hit the gates, which also exploded. In the confusion, she disabled auto-driver and passed through the carnage and out of the Peak.
A super soldier clutched his aching head as he stood up. That female they had been warned about had destroyed the gates and part of the wall with two arrows! He looked around and saw the female ditching the motorbike and she then began making a run for it. He picked up his gun and looked through the sights. She had just started wading through a river flowing near the Peak. He pulled the trigger.
THE PRISON COMPOUND
Fergus ducked as the super soldier launched at him and Sarah. But, the momentum was too much, and the super soldier screamed as she fell over the edge of the wall, unable to stop. They stood up and saw other super soldiers coming towards them. “YAH, we need a solution to this!” Sarah prayed.
Anastasia fell face-first in the river. Blood was pouring from her right shoulder where the bullet had hit her. She raised her head above the water and shook the water from her face. She tried swimming to the other side, but she could not move her right arm without it erupting in pain. She let herself flow downstream a little (which was away from the Peak) before grabbing a large rock by the bank and pushing and pulling with her good arm herself up onto the river bank. Scrambling to her feet, she ripped off part of her shirt and turned it into a temporary bandage. She heard shouts and crouched. Voices. A search party. And heading her way. She quickly ran the other way.
Alexei, Veronica and Zipporah ran down the stairs. They had entered through a secret entrance under the destroyed desk that had been in the now-destroyed main building. They arrived in what they assumed was a room and found themselves surrounded by cells, which were full of prisoners. The prisoners all crowded around the cell doors and were gawking at the newcomers. “What are we going to do with all these people?” Zipporah whispered to Alexei.
“Take them with us,” Alexei whispered back. “The Ark should carry all of us.” He stepped over to the nearest door and instructed Veronica and Zipporah to go to the other doors and use their laser cutters. After ordering the prisoners to stay back, he activated his laser cutter and quickly cut away part of the door. The two girls did the same. Soon they had cut open several cells, freeing the people inside. Veronica kicked down the section of the door she had cut off and surveyed the cell. Her eyes locked on a person who was sitting up.
“What’s happening?” the person asked groggily, rubbing her eyes.
“Anne! It’s me, Veronica,” and Veronica rushed forward and embraced Anne, who embraced her back. “We’re going to get you out. Come on,” and she and Anne walked out. Alexei and Zipporah had just finished releasing the other prisoners. Alexei came over and helped Veronica lead Anne through the crowd moving towards the exit. Alexei detached from them and ran up the stairs to check the situation outside. He saw Axel, Josephine, Fergus, Ellen, Sarah and Joe fighting some super soldiers. The compound was in ruins. He heard a whistling noise and looked up. A missile was heading in his direction.
He ran back down the stairs. He was half-way down before the missile hit the ground next to the entrance. The force of impact knocked Alexei off his feet and he tumbled down the rest of the stairs. Zipporah and Anne helped him up. “Alexei,” Anne whispered. “The stairwell has caved in. We’re trapped.”
David tapped his teeth with a pencil. He knew his weapons were useless against these tanks and Salamanders in the Peak, and that he should wait for his stepson and the others to rescue Anne and then they would fly back home in the Ark, which W.J. Einstein had designed to go on land, air, and sea. “Einie, I’m going in,” David said over the radio, turning on the engine.
“It’s Einstein,” Einstein corrected. “And, I have recently made this new weapon in the Ark’s arsenal. Press the mauve button.”
David searched the dashboard and spotted the mauve button next to the steering wheel and pressed it. Two laser guns popped out, one on the left and one on the right side of the bus. “Now you’re talking,” David muttered, driving forward. He noticed a flashing green button had suddenly appeared, also next to the steering wheel. It had the word FIRE inscribed on it. That’s pretty straightforward.
“A word of caution,” Einstein said, “It has not been fully-tested yet.”
David noticed the people in the tanks and Salamanders were beginning to notice him. “Well, it’s about to be,” he told Einstein and pressed the FIRE button. The targets exploded. “These work great, Einstein! Where did you get the inspiration from?” David praised.
“Movies are good for things other than entertainment, you know,” was Einstein’s response. David was skeptical of that as he did not like movies.
David aimed at the super soldiers. “A, E, J, J, S, and F, duck!” he commanded. He saw six figures on the remainder of the wall disappear, so fired, obliterating the enemy, which consequently further damaged the wall. Some of it crumbled and fell. Very concerned about everyone, he turned off the engine, unbuckled and climbed out. Running through the debris, he searched for Ellen, Josephine, Fergus, Sarah, Joe and Axel. “Guys, where are you?” David asked through the radio.
“Guys? Come in, please.” Then there was a groan. Relief flooded through him because they were still alive. “Are you alright?” he asked.
“I don’t think alright is the term I’d use after jumping off the wall,” moaned Joe.
“That’s my exercise for a month,” Ellen joked through gritted teeth.
“Dad?” Alexei said. “We’re fine. Mama’s here with us and is also fine. We are trapped in the underground prison.”
“Okay. You six, I need help evacuating them. Is anyone able to help?” David asked.
Anastasia toppled down by a tree, her heart pounding, her breath ragged. She had run for three miles straight as the search party was tailing her, but she could not run any further. She just could not go on, much less take another step. Despite her extensive training, she was not able to go any further. She thought she should climb the tree, to stay hidden, but she could barely move.
Her exhausted mind on the verge of sleep was aware of some nearby bushes rustling though there was no wind. She tried to get up, but she was too tired. Super soldiers burst out and aimed their guns at her. One stepped forward, most probably the leader, and rammed his gun into the back of Anastasia’s head. But she was too exhausted to resist.
A gun shot rang out.
END OF BOOK TWO
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