UNDERGROUND BASE, ANTARCTICA
One of the Owens – Dakota – fired at Charles. The bullets hit him, but then harmlessly bounced away. The soldiers fired laser and electric bolts. And we only have bullets, and two laser guns, she thought grudgingly.
Both sides engaged in a fierce exchange of fire. Dakota spied Petrus, Lord Owens, and her brother – Sergio, who was helping Lord Owens – trying to escape, using the crossfire as a cover. Then she noticed that Charles was aiming a gun at the trio. She aimed and fired at Charles’ gun. The bullets hit his gun, which jerked to the side. It also set it off. A bullet hit Lord Owens in the neck. Another hit him in the brain.
Lord Owens dead body collapsed on the floor.
Feeling anger that her uncle was now dead, she fired rapidly at Charles. But the bullets bounced off him harmlessly.
A bullet hit her in the throat.
Petrus and Sergio gasped as Dakota fell, jerking around as she clutched her throat. Blood poured out around her hands. Then she was still. Petrus charged at Charles. Charles stepped nimbly aside and grabbed his arm, yanking Petrus off his feet. Petrus swung his leg and knocked Charles off his feet. Sergio jumped on top of Charles and pulled out a sharp dagger he had stolen from somewhere. Sergio tried to stab Charles in the stomach. There was a ringing sound as the tip of the dagger received a dent.
Sergio tried again desperately. There was the sound of metal against metal. Huh? Petrus thought.
Charles’ skin suddenly turned grey and hard. Petrus and Sergio rubbed their eyes. Sergio tapped the ‘skin’. “It’s metal,” he said quietly.
“A drone?” Petrus said in disbelief. A drone holographically disguised as Charles. Where was Charles?
“Romanus?” A male – Petrus guessed he was only thirteen or fourteen years old – spoke. His voice had a tremor in it.
Petrus and Sergio stood up. Petrus faced him. “Yes, what is it?” he asked the youth.
“The soldiers…their drones,” the youth whispered, eyes wide in fascination and fear. Petrus turned around. The soldiers all stood rigidly, their holographic disguises suddenly turned off, revealing them to be drones. What’s going on? What’s the purpose of the drones? And where is everyone? He looked back at the youth. “What’s your name?” he enquired.
“Patrick Owens,” the boy introduced himself, standing to attention.
“Patrick, go and count the remaining Owens and tell me how many are left,” Petrus ordered. Patrick gave him a crisp salute and marched off to carry out his orders.
THE SILVER DRAGON
Kyen jumped as a hand was placed on his shoulder. “Kyen, Mary Collins – grandmother – wants to speak to all of us,” Amelia stated. Kyen looked up at his cousin, who had dark brown hair and light olive-skin – a common trait in the Collins bloodline. She had leaned over to get his attention. She pointed at her earpiece. “Grandmother just told me on this.”
He activated the auto-pilot and stood up with Amelia. He followed her to the dining room in the Silver Dragon. Mary Collins was there. She had changed out of her prison outfit into a pair of grey trousers and a black button-up shirt. Her black hair – with streaks of white in it – was now in a bun. Mary stood straight, hands clasped behind her back. Kyen’s paternal uncles, aunts, and cousins all stood around the dining room. Some had not changed out of their prison attire.
Amelia and Kyen walked straight over to Mary and knelt before her on one knee. “Grandmother,” they solemnly greeted. Mary rested her hands on their shoulders.
“Arise.” They stood up and Amelia went over to the others while Kyen stood infront of Mary. “My husband, Peter, is in a stable condition and will live,” she announced. Kyen felt relieved. “Now, Kyen, I know you were going to explain to us what we are going to do. But there is something critical that needs to be done first.”
“What is that, Grandmother?” Kyen queried.
“I have heard this rumour that you have a device implanted in your brain that allows you to be controlled. A mind-control device.”
So I was being controlled when I attacked Anastasia, Kyen thought. “But they scanned my brain and my whole body and did not detect any device at all,” he blurted out without thinking.
Mary’s eyes narrowed as she stared at him. “Who’s they?”
That’s right. They don’t know about Zion. “Just some people I’ve been staying with. At one point, it appeared that someone was controlling my actions, so they scanned me, but did not detect anything,” Kyen vaguely explained.
“No surprise there, grandson. According to the rumours, the device has it’s own unique radio signal that has never, ever been created before in human history. To borrow an expression, it’s completely off the charts. The rumours also said that the device self-encrypts it’s signal to avoid any detection,” Mary stated. “The League of Nations doctors operated on a few people as well as you. Noland – your father – wanted some people from us Collins and Owens to have it implanted as a test to see if it worked.”
“And, you were prisoners here at the time, so would have heard all this when they took the chosen Collins and Owens,” Kyen said.
“Correct. They were going to experiment with me, but they decided that they needed a younger mind and body than mine. They picked eleven people in total from us and the Owens. Some died from the operation. Some survived, but when they turned on the device, those who had survived became autistic, epileptic, and gibbering idiots. Their minds could not handle it. But, after that, there were some rumours that Charles would implant the device in your brain without your parents consent or knowledge. You were the twelfth patient.”
“I think he did,” Kyen stated. “But how come I didn’t become autistic or anything?”
Mary shrugged. “Your mind could handle it. We need to do an operation on you to see if it is there and remove it if it is,” she said. “Don’t worry. You’ll survive.”
Kyen did not want anyone controlling him. “Do it,” he consented. Mary nodded at some of the Collins, who gently but firmly took him by the arms and led him away to the Operation Room.
With the butt of a laser gun, Patrick smashed the glass door. He knocked out the last few shards away. “All done, Romanus,” Patrick saluted.
Strange, Petrus was thinking. No alarm went off when Patrick smashed the door to the Weapons Room. Everyone we’ve seen after busting the Owens out of prison has been a still drone. Where are the people? Where did they suddenly go?
He carefully stepped through the door frame, wary in case of any trap. Nothing happened. He went over to the shelves where he found the Shockers and hand-held containers of explosives were still there. He called the Owens in and handed out the Shockers and explosives to them all. “Okay,” he began as they all exited the room. “Charles keeps a spare fighter fleet here just in case. We are going to take that.”
Petrus stopped. Another drone was ahead. Petrus raised his hand, and everyone stopped. He walked over to the drone and looked at it. Grey, human-shaped and doing nothing. What are you for? He silently wondered. Then he saw a tiny little screen on the face. He leaned closer. Something red was on the screen was on the screen. Squinting, he saw the red thing were numbers, and they were counting down.
Then it hit him. A bomb. They’re all bombs.
LENINGRADSKY RAILWAY STATION, MOSCOW, RUSSIA
The train pulled up at the station. The Light Force and Law Enforcers disembarked and looked around the station. It was empty, but they could hear the sounds of fighting coming from the city. When the League of Nations was established, all train stations were abolished in Moscow, except for one, which was the one that they had arrived in. Alexei looked around. Where is that EMP device?
“Bombs?” one of the Owens – Lewis – repeated incredulously as they ran.
“Think about it,” Petrus panted. “The people have left, and then have holographic drones in their place. A clock is ticking on them. The bombs in them would kill us.”
LONDON KING’S CROSS STATION, LONDON, ENGLAND
Jake Butler peered down at the train from his perch in the archway. He held a scrambling device that would scramble any scans done of the station to prevent them from detecting him. The others in hiding around the station all had the device. The Light Force and Law Enforcers had exited the train and he watched as two of them re-entered the train. Are they getting the EMP device that the Zionists warned us about? he wondered. The two exited the train again, carrying a metal black, rectangular container.
Petrus threw himself to the floor, curled up in a fetal position. He felt himself hit something, which was wet. He closed his eyes at the bright flash of light. Once the noise died down, he uncurled and stood up. That was from the prison, he worked out. There was another explosion and they ducked down again. “Come on!” he yelled to everyone as he stood up. “Let’s get out of here!” He began walking again when his foot hit something wet and sort of soft. Oh, yeah. The thing I hit. He looked down and raised his eyebrows in surprise. It was a body, with horrific cuts and wounds, clothes soaked in blood. he gingerly pushed the body over with his feet to see who it was.
He shuddered at the look of pure horror and terror on the person’s face.
Then he realized who he was looking at, his holographic disguise turned off.
Petrus was looking at the bloody remains of Charles E. Ville.
LENINGRADSKY RAILWAY STATION, MOSCOW, RUSSIA
“Everybody, get in formation!” Taylor barked. The Law Enforcers and Light Force instantly organised themselves into four rows. Zipporah was at the very end of the rows. Turning on the rear-view vision in the helmet, she watched as the two drivers kept climbing in and out of the train, always carrying a metal black, rectangular container out onto the platform. They must have been hidden somewhere in the floor of the train or something, she realized.
In total, they brought four containers then opened them with some keys. The drivers knelt down beside the containers and pulled back the lids. They seemed to be typing in the containers and pausing in their typing to tinker with something else inside the containers. After they had finished doing it with all the containers, they stood back up. “The EMP has been activated,” Taylor announced. “It will take four minutes for the EMP to take affect throughout Russia. Then the rebels power and high-tech weapons will be turned off and we can easily eliminate them.”
Patrick’s stomach flipped and he almost vomited. He had seen Petrus staring dumbfounded at a body of a man he did not know. That man’s bloody corpse was totally horrific. But what would be permanently engraved in his memory was all the other corpses lying around. They were all the bodies of the people who had worked at the Underground Base in Antarctica. But what really turned his stomach was the expressions of pure horror and terror on some of their faces. Who on earth killed them? he wondered.
“Let’s get going,” Petrus commanded loudly. Gladly, Patrick thought. Patrick noticed that Petrus appeared affected by the discovery. A bit disturbed. They ran out of the room and Petrus led them through the base.
As he led the Owens through the base, Petrus’ mind was working overtime. Who killed them? They must have been killed while I was heading for the prison and freeing the Owens, he worked out. He then remembered Kyen and the Collins marching through the base around the time of Charles’ arrival. They were most likely killed shortly after that. Did Kyen and the Collins kill Charles and the others and plant the drones?
They then ran into the hangar. Petrus immediately noticed that something was missing. Charles’ fighter fleet was missing, a.k.a. Project B. And their pilots were lying back in the base dead. “How the heck did someone steal them? The fleet will only work if the correct pilots is in them due to biometrics. And they are dead,” Petrus muttered.
“Where’s the spare fleet?” an older female asked pointedly.
“Ah, yes.” Petrus pushed all his questions to the back of his mind and went over to one of the walls and punched in a code on a keypad. A door automatically slid open and he carefully stepped through. He looked around and could not see any immediate danger. He went over to the spare fleet, which were on ramps, and checked them over, and was surprised to discover that there were no biometric scanners to activate it. “It’s safe! Come in here!” he called out to the others.
“Already did.” He turned and saw Patrick, Lewis, Sergio, and the rest of the Owens standing behind him. Patrick looked pale and had a haunted look. Poor boy, he thought. Must have never seen a corpse before.
“Which of you lot can fly?” Petrus asked. Several hands were raised. “Right, then. Let’s go.”
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Ronald pushed the drapes to the side and got himself into position. He made sure he and his rifle blended into the shadows as he aimed his rifle down at the street below. He knew that the other snipers would be getting into their positions. Well, he thought, since we failed to prevent the train from coming, we might as well follow Alexei’s advice and let them come.
Barry watched as the soldiers marched out of Five Points Station. And the two drivers were not around. So they must have left with the soldiers, Barry thought. Looking around both ways, he crouched low and ran out of his cover by the escalator and over to the train. He peered through one of the windows. He could not see anyone inside. He stood up and ran over to the other side of the train and saw some black containers sitting there. Must be real confident if no-one is guarding them. He gave a little flick of his wrist and five men and women came running out of their cover to the black containers. The lids were still up, and Barry saw screens on the inside of the lids. Coming closer, he saw keyboards inside the containers and next to them were octagons with wires connecting them to the keyboard. Looking back up at the screens , he saw a rotating image of the octagon and there were some words next to it.
EMP Has Been Activated.
“Shirley and Tyler, you two are the technology experts. See if you can disable the EMP.”
Anastasia marched out of the station with the soldiers. Using the rear-view vision, she watched the two drivers, who were staying behind. How are Zipporah and I going to turn off the EMP if they’re hanging around? They exited Leningradsky Railway Station. Being the two behind, Anastasia and Zipporah began walking at a slower pace. She looked up at the buildings as they passed them, straying further behind. She figured the rebels were in hiding, waiting for their signal. She and Zipporah turned around and headed back for the train station.
“Everyone buckled up?”
“Yes, Romanus,” the Owens said over the aircrafts comms.
“Lewis, open the auxiliary doors,” Petrus ordered the pilot as he strapped himself into the co-pilot’s seat. Lewis nodded and flipped a few switches and above them the auxiliary doors opened. Then the ramps tilted back, which would allow the fleet to fly outside.
The engines on the aircraft turned on and they launched. Petrus and Lewis levelled out their fighter airplane. “Sure was easy to fly away,” commented Lewis.
“Mm-hmm,” Petrus muttered.
Petrus looked at William Owens’ hologram. “Yes, William?”
“Who do you think killed Charles?” William asked.
Petrus sighed. He had been trying not to think about the disturbing find. He was relieved that he now had one less opponent for the throne, but he still was disturbed. He pictured the expressions of pure horror and terror on some of their faces. Then it could not have been Kyen and the Collins. Charles would not be horrified and terrified by them. Who the heck did it, then?
“Well, when I went to get you guys, the Collins were gone. I think they must have escaped and killed Charles and the others before escaping,” Petrus lied. “We need to eliminate them before you get on the throne, William.”
“Yes. Noland, Lord Owens, and Kyen are all dead. You are Noland’s elder brother. Once one of us becomes Emperor, the Emperor’s children and siblings and his siblings descendants are next in line for the throne. Since Noland, Kyen, and Lord Owens are dead, and you are Noland’s only living sibling, you are next in line.”
William nodded and hung up.
Petrus thought again of Charles’ and the others corpses. They were going to definitely have to watch their backs more closely than before. He also thought about what he had just told William. There is no way, William, that I am about to let you become Emperor. Once the Owens served their purpose, Petrus thought, they’re gone.
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