I am so sorry for not being able to post this chapter last week, but I had to think very carefully on this one. Hope you enjoy!
UNDERNEATH ROME, ITALY
He could not detect the clone’s life sign. Her camera had been turned off. Tractatori went over the footage from the clone’s camera before the feed had cut off. She had been about to inject Alexei Ivanov with the poison, when she had started fighting Zipporah Peretz and Alexei. Then the feed had cut off. Tractatori could not think of any reason why unless…
The clone had been killed.
The camera worked when it detected the pulse of the person it was attached to. If it lost the pulse, the camera would stop working and the feed would be automatically cut off.
Hell! I hope none of them somehow discover the trap idea.
“This is David. What is it, Alexei?”
“Is Mum there?” he asked hesitantly.
“No. She’s cooking dinner. Do you want me to go get her?” David replied.
Not really, Alexei thought. He could not bear the thought of telling Anne about Anastasia was missing and had most probably been kidnapped. He knew it would crush her to know she had lost her daughter. He did not want to see his mother like that. It would be easier if I told David, and he told Mum, Alexei considered. Or, should I just not tell her?
“Uh…yeah. Please get Mum,” Alexei requested. “And get Andrew and Einstein as well.”
David’s hologram nodded and left the room. Alexei realised he had been holding his breath and slowly let it out. What do I do, YEHOVAH? he prayed. “What are you going to tell your mother?”
Alexei glanced at Zipporah. “I don’t know. I don’t want to tell her myself, and at the same time, I don’t want to tell her at all. I can’t bear the thought of what it would do to her. What do I say to her?”
“We’re here, Alexei,” Anne said. Alexei looked at David’s, Anne’s, Einstein’s and Andrew’s holograms.
“So are we.” Alexei and Zipporah turned and saw Fergus, Veronica, and the Gavrilov siblings – Diak, Emily, Ivan, Andrei and Igor walk in. Ronald and Josephine’s hologram appeared then, and the other free regions then called in as well. “What is it?”
“Uh…We have come up with a plan of how to bring down the League of Nations,” Alexei announced. He saw out of the corner of his eye Zipporah glance sharply at him, and frown slightly. He turned to Zipporah. “Show ’em,” he ordered. She stared at him, frowning, wondering why he was not telling them about Anastasia. He very subtly shook his head. She pulled out Anastasia’s holo-projector and turned it on. They had moved the tampered blueprints and instructions into the ‘secret’ library and were only going to show the original, accurate ones. Zipporah wanted to tell, but Alexei adamantly refused.
The holo-blueprints appeared. “The best way to take down the League of Nations is to bring down the Peak. It is the League’s heart. Turn off the heart, and the body dies,” Alexei began. “Here is what we are going to do: there is secret underground tunnels that run from the Peak to all the regions around the earth. We enter from this one here,” and Zipporah flicked the blueprints into cyberspace and brought up a map of Russia. Alexei pointed at a spot three kilometres from Moscow. “That is where the entrance to the tunnel is and we follow it to the end, which is where we exit to enter the Peak. Once inside, I will lead a team to attack while Zipporah and Veronica sneak into the Peak’s main computer building.” A holo-image of the building appeared. “In that building is where all the Peak’s power is controlled. Once in there, they will plant a virus which will travel through the Peak’s systems, turning it all off. My team and I are the distraction so that the girls can plant the computer virus.”
“What then?” Andrew enquired.
“You, and you lot,” and Alexei motioned at all the people’s holograms, “will have travelled over there and be ready to attack from behind. Once they have turned off the power, you will attack from behind while we will continue attacking from within.” He took the teleporter and sent the holo-blueprints to all the ones going to be involved. “I have sent the blueprints to you lot. Study it and get to know the layout by heart. We leave in an hour.”
EMPEROR’S PALACE, THE PEAK
Bellah answered the phone without bothering to check who was calling. “Yes?”
“Mr Kingsley, you are not going to believe this.”
“What is it, Mindy?” Bellah enquired. Was it something to do with Charles’ assassin?
“There’s a situation developing in Venezuela.”
William Clayton jerked as someone started shaking him. “Wha-? Your Eminence, I’m sorry. I had not meant to fall asle…” he trailed off as he saw it was actually Bellah Kingsley who had woken him. “What the hell do you think you are bloomin’ doing, waking up from a sound sleep!?”
Bellah bowed slightly. “Honourable Clayton, you have my deepest apologies. I normally would not have woken you up, but it is to do with Venezuela and our oil reserve,” he explained.
“What?! That’s our biggest oil reserve! What’s happening?”
“But that has the world’s largest deposits of petroleum!” Clayton gripped the arms of his chair at the news.
Bellah nodded patiently. “Yes, Honourable Clayton. They’ve started drilling. I think to take the petroleum,” he finished.
Clayton banged his fist on the arm of the chair and clenched his teeth in anger. “Right! What resources do we have available?” he seethed.
“Um…the troops that went on the magnetic levitation trains are dead. The ones that ‘disappeared‘ were Project B, and they were slaughtered mysteriously in Antarctica alongside Charles, remember?” Bellah reported. “We can rally the Law Enforcers near the Orinoco Belt and there are the Light Force and Super Cyborgs here. We can send some of them out. But, if you don’t want to kill any of them, you can send the Auto Fighters and those drones.”
Clayton tapped his fingers on the arms of the chair. Which would be better? What if we needed the people here? Considering how things have been going as of late… “Send the Auto Fighters and the drones,” he ordered.
Alexei left everyone to their studying and left the room. Was I right in not mentioning it right now? He was not sure what to do, and desperately wanted something to do to take his mind off of it. He walked quickly towards his bedroom. He needed to pack everything he needed for this. He heard someone behind him, hurrying to catch up with him. Why won’t she leave me alone? “Don’t lecture me, Zip. Just go!”
“I’ll try not to lecture too much.”
Alexei choked and turned around. “Sorry, Igor. I thought…you know what I thought,” he apologised.
“That I was Zipporah? Yes, I know. Anyway, just to be sure, are my siblings and I meant to be part of the distraction, or are we supposed to go with the others to attack the Peak from behind?” Igor asked.
“Part of the distraction,” Alexei replied.
Igor nodded. He turned and walked away. Alexei ran a hand through his hair. What do I do, YAH? What do I say? He let out a small sob. She couldn’t take it. “You wanna’ talk?” Alexei looked to his left. Igor had come back and was standing next to him. Alexei could see he felt a little awkward about asking him, but he was grateful he had asked.
“Man, I can see your problem. What would you say to her?”
“I’ve thought about getting someone else to tell her instead, but…I’m not sure.”
Igor bit his lip as he thought about it. “It would be easier on you if someone else was the bearer of bad news,” he noted. “But, I think yer ma would also need you when she hears about it, so…maybe…you should.”
He heard Alexei sigh. “I’ve even considered not telling her,” he confessed hesitantly. What?
“She needs to know,” Igor replied.
“Yeah. I will tell her. I just…can’t at the moment,” Alexei said.
“I understand,” Igor replied. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be that helpful.”
“That’s alright. Just listening helps sometimes,” Alexei said.
“Anyway, I need to go and study and get ready,” Igor said as he began walking away. “See ya’.”
TIBET MOUNTAINS, CHINA
Something cold and hard was in her right ear. She could smell blood and there was also and her head was ringing. Anastasia opened her eyes. She was lying on her side on a floor. She propped herself up on one elbow and then pushed herself onto her knees. She began to feel dizzy and closed her eyes, focusing on her breathing to calm her stomach.
The nausea passed and she opened her eyes. She began to stand up – and froze. Right next to where her head had been lying was spots of blood on the floor. She quickly stood up, her heart thumping in fear. She felt the back of her head, then looked at her hand. There was no blood. What was it from? She began to take in her surroundings. The roof was curved and the floor was hard. Where am I? “So, sleeping beauty finally woke up.”
Anastasia looked behind her. She saw a door and someone leaning against it. Petrus Romanus. He was holding something in his hand, but she did not take any notice. She felt anger rising at the sight of him. “Get away from me,” she snarled and began walking away down the hall.
“I wouldn’t do that,” Petrus called out. She looked over her shoulder. He was still leaning casually against the door. Why isn’t he coming after me?
Self-destruct in six seconds…
Anastasia looked around, but could not hear any alarm.
She turned and ran back around the corner and towards Petrus. She stopped infront of him. The countdown’s stopped, she noticed. “What just happened?”
“Your right ear,” he smiled. Anastasia reached up to her right ear. There was something cold and hard in her ear. She tapped it, trying to work out what it was. It was smooth and there was a small antennae on it. “Don’t tap it. It’s a small explosive device and tapping it could set it off,” he warned. She heard some slight panic in his voice. She lowered her hand.
“What do you mean?”
“The explosive device in your ear is called Parva Mortiferum,” Petrus explained. He lifted one of his hands and Anastasia saw something in it. It was a small black rectangle with an antennae on it. “This controls the explosive. The safety is off. If you move out of a radius of ten feet, it turns the explosive on and, as you’ve already experienced, counts down from six seconds and then explodes. If you fail to get back to me in time, it will explode, blowing your head off. Get back to me in time, and Parva Mortiferum will turn back off and you will live.”
Anastasia broke out into a cold sweat. He had her on an electronic leash. She would be forced to stay with the bastard to save her own skin. “Why?” she asked quietly. “Why are you forcing me to do this? Why not just use the implant in my brain?”
Petrus raised his eyebrow and just stared at her. “I took it out. Don’t want anyone hacking into it and taking control of you again, do we?”
I think I would have preferred that over this, Anastasia thought. But she did not say it. “Why are you doing this? What do you want me to do?” she asked.
“Help me take the throne.”
Anastasia blinked in surprise. “Why do you need me?”
“You have the talent and skills we need to do it successfully. Plus, you are our – my – insurance that we will succeed. That I will live.”
“What makes you think that I will not kill you myself?” Anastasia asked, angry at what was happening.
Petrus threw his head back and laughed. “Naive. Try and touch me,” he instructed. What? She stared at him suspiciously. What’s going to happen? “Go on,” he prompted. “Try and hit me.” He laughed again, then…shattered?
ORINOCO BELT, VENEZUELA
“How long will it take for us to suck up all the petroleum into the tanks?” Zeke Collins asked, turning to his co-pilot – Abigail Collins.
Abigail brought a schematic on the computer screen of their estimated time. “Two hours. For all of us to do it.”
Zeke chuckled. “Good. More than enough time for them to notice us.”
An alarm blared then inside the Dragon. “Attention! Attention! Unidentified craft closing in.”
Zeke grinned at Abigail, who had gone pale. “They’ve come! Let the fun begin!” He turned on the comms, calling the other war machines. “Everybody, get your weapons ready. We’ve got company.”
TIBET MOUNTAINS, CHINA
Petrus seemed to shatter into a million pieces. The pieces then disappeared. Anastasia stared at the spot he had been in before, wondering if he was going to appear again. She looked around, but could not see him. Maybe I can leave now, she thought. She put her hands on her hips and studied the door. There was no handles or keypad. Not even any noticeable thumb plates.
“Don’t even think about it.”
Anastasia turned around. Petrus was standing behind her, shaking his head at her, guessing what she was trying to do. “How did you…?”
“That was a hologram dispersing,” Petrus – or his hologram again probably – explained. “This is the real me right now. But, the moment you try to attack or kill me, well…I have another device hidden on me which I will use to give you an electric shock. It won’t effect in any way the explosive device in your ear. The electric shock will be enough to knock you out for up to two minutes. You will only be able to handle one. This type of electric shock will kill you the second time. And, I can become invisible at any time and put my hologram in place in a split second, so you will never know if it is me or not. Try to attack or kill me – even if it is a hologram – I will give you the electric shock. Oh, before I forget – both those devices are programmed to work as long as they detect my heartbeat. If I am killed, or they are no longer able to detect my heartbeat, the explosive in your ear will automatically go off, blowing your head into pieces.” He paused to let it sink in. “Understand?”
Oh, yeah, Anastasia thought. She would not be able to kill him, be forced to stick with him and keep the bastard alive to protect her own skin. Also, she was being forced to help him take the throne. How many more times am I going to be used as a frigging pawn?! “So…is that why you helped me escape? So you could force my hand later?”
Petrus chuckled. “Now we get to it,” he replied. “Yes, as a matter of fact. I had originally given you the implant secretly, but at the time I had not realised that the Romanus’ leader, Tractatori, would hack into it and use you. I figured he was the one, you see, as he is the only one smart enough to do that. Anyway, I had you implanted as I wanted you to help me take the throne.”
Help, my foot!
“But, when I was finally in reach, and needed you, you sadly chose to go searching for the truth and turned against us, causing Charles to send a group after you to assassinate you. I realised I was not going to be able to hide you in the Peak, so helped you escape, so you would live and I could get you when you were needed.” He chuckled. “I just didn’t expect you to just drop by.”
Anastasia’s heart sank. Everything, everything that had happened to her was just some trick employed by people just to use her later for their own benefits and plans. Even when she was escaping, she was being used. My whole life, I’ve just been a pawn. Everything swirled around her and her vision blurred. A pair of hands gripped her under the armpits and steadied her. Seeing Petrus’ face peering down at her, she pushed away, standing up.
“But, he recognized that,” Anastasia said quietly, reflecting on the event. She remembered the look in his eyes before he pulled the trigger. He was fighting something. He knew. And did not want to do it. “He tried to fight it.” She looked at him in the eye. “How come I knew as well, but could not fight it?”
“That’s because it depends on what power scale you use,” Petrus said, sounding like a bored teacher. “I did it at a low power scale so he would fight it and you could live. I needed you.”
Her eyes burned with tears. Nothing is what I think it is. “Was me meeting Kyen and Andrew done by you lot just so that he could kill me?”
“No. You three meeting was unexpected. You see, Charles always had this plan for Kyen, as he was needed. You and Kyen were always big threats to his plan to become the global Emperor. He always wanted to get rid of both of you, but could not while Noland and Nora were alive. His planned to bring Zion into a war, but needed you for that. That did not go according to plan, but, anyway, he also planned that once the war started, for you and Kyen to come across each other and get into a fight and kill each other. That way, it would have looked like he was not involved in your deaths. But, in the end, he did not want to bother with it, and…did what he did instead. So, when we discovered that you and Kyen were together, he decided to try out his original plan and get rid of his two biggest threats.”
BAY OF BENGAL, BANGLADESH
Mary leaned back in the chair, forming a steeple with her hands. She watched her husband, Peter, as he slept. He was recovering remarkably well. He should be able to get out of bed the next day. I wonder what Ameratsu’s progress is? She had not heard from them in a little while and wanted to make sure they were proceeding as planned.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Ah, that must be Ameratsu. She accepted the call on her phone and put it to her ear. “What is your report, Kyen?”
“Ma’am, you need to come and see this,” one of her great nephews – Mason – said.
“What have we got?” Mary asked as she came over to Mason.
“This,” and Mason pressed a button and a screen lowered infront of them. On it showed the night sky. Something was coming towards them. “Flying saucers, fighter aircraft and coming towards us,” Mason reported.
“Get the defense systems up and advise people to have weapons – ”
“INCOMING!!!” cried someone.
A few minutes later…
A man stepped out of the flying saucer after it landed. He was dressed in black and carried a light saber, a bow and a quiver of arrows – the arrows had explosive and electrical heads. But there was also normal arrows. He surveyed the burning skeleton of the Silver Dragon. Unfortunately it shone bright in the night, but that could not be helped. But at least they were dealt with. The submarine should burn for just a few more hours.
He walked slowly towards the wreckage, taking in the carnage that was lying on shore and in the water. He smiled. He saw something – or someone – stand up and run. He swiftly reached up and pulled out one of the normal arrows. He notched his bow and fired at the person’s back, which was illuminated by the fire.
There was a thud as the arrow hit flesh and the person fell to the ground without a cry. He went over, gripping his light saber just in case. The legs were illuminated by the fire, but the upper half of the person was in the shadows. He pulled out a torch and turned it on. Shining it on the person, he saw the person had a woman’s figure. With his foot, he turned the body over and shone the light on the person’s face.
He turned back to the burning wreckage, eerily calm. He saw his people exiting the aircraft and walking through the carnage, making sure everyone was dead. He lifted his head and stared at the full moon, shining brightly. Next, he had to go to the Tibet Mountains to take care of another loose end, before the final stage.
In your face, Tractatori.
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