Sorry for the delay! Really, I am. There has just been a lot going on lately. By the way, I want to give a shout out to bottomlesscoffee007 for helping me out with this chapter. Thank you!! It really helped. Hope you enjoy!
Anastasia hit the ground.
Snow exploded all around her. She covered her head.
She suddenly felt herself dropping. The sky, the snow, the clouds were all falling away…
Her hands groped for something to grab onto. Connected with nothing.
Someone grabbed her hand. Her body jerked at the sudden stop and she swung a little from side to side. She looked down. Whoa! She was looking down a crevice – but she could not see the bottom of it. The walls disappeared into darkness. Hell. She looked up and saw that Petrus had grabbed her hand. She glanced back down into the crevice. If he hadn’t grabbed me…
She shivered at the thought. The explosive in her ear would have blown off before she hit the bottom. “Anastasia! We need to get out of here!” Anastasia tore her eyes away and focused on climbing out. “The aircraft has gone, but they might come around again,” Petrus told her. Petrus then yanked her out. She landed on top of him, then rolled off and scrambled to her feet. Petrus stood up and grabbed her arm and they ran for the aircraft.
Anastasia heard a whistling sound. “Go, go, g-”
Petrus stumbled and almost fell. Anastasia grabbed him and they continued running. Laser bolts hit the ground all around them. Snow shot up in the air and sprayed everywhere. Almost there, almost…there.
Anastasia was suddenly somersaulting through the air. She hit the ground with an “OOF!” She scrambled to her feet and saw Petrus sprawled face-first in the snow up ahead of her. She ran over to him and pushed him over onto his back. He groaned. Anastasia yanked him up onto his feet and pulled him along. She glanced behind her and saw that one of the aircraft was heading straight in their direction.
The door to their aircraft slid open and they dove through it. The door slid shut. Petrus and Anastasia stood up. Anastasia saw the youth who had handed Petrus the two bags. There was a loud rumble and they were all thrown to the ground. Petrus yanked Anastasia and the youth to their feet and they ran towards the cockpit. Running into the cockpit, Anastasia and the youth sat down in a couple of seats and strapped in. Petrus sat down in the pilot’s seat and strapped in. He turned on the engines. “Punch it!” he told his co-pilot.
The aircraft lifted off. Petrus typed in their destination. “Sergio, maximum speed.”
He scanned the surrounding area for any sign of Petrus, Anastasia, and the Owens. There was nothing. Where did they go? Oh. There they are. He saw their aircraft on the infra-red scan flying behind one of the mountains, away from them. He turned on the comms and called the rest of the fleet. “Pursue.”
IN THE SKIES
Ronald looked around in the cargo hold of the aircraft. Everyone was strapped into their seats on the left and right side of the cargo hold. He heard some people praying, others were sitting there with their eyes closed; all preparing themselves for the task up ahead in their own way. He looked at Robin, who was on the other side of the cargo hold. Robin was staring off into space. He happened to look in Ronald’s direction, and their eyes met. Robin quickly glanced away and turned to the person who was sitting on Robin’s right – Josephine – and quickly struck up a conversation with her.
Ronald looked away. I’ve hurt him far worse by not being there for him then by my betrayal. He wanted to take care of Robin, wanted to be able to move on, but every time he saw Robin every day, the guilt that came over him was so intense, he would always fall to drinking. Always the same cycle. Try to change, only to have the guilt wash over him again. Then drinking. Over and over again. How do I break that cycle? I don’t know what to do.
Josephine only half-listened to Robin. She was studying Ronald. She had seen the look that had passed between Robin and Ronald and both of their reactions. She was concerned about the two of them. How can two relatives have so much hate and tension between them?
She then realized that Robin was no longer talking. “Oh, I-I’m sorry, Robin. What were you saying?”
“Doesn’t matter. You weren’t interested anyway,” he replied sullenly.
“Don’t apologise. It wasn’t very interesting anyway,” Robin told her.
“Robin?” He turned to look at her, so she continued. “Do you mind if I ask you what’s the matter with you and Ronald?”
Robin stiffened. But, he went ahead and told her what happened. Josephine kept quiet and did not comment. Once he had finished, she sat there, thinking it over. “He doesn’t know how,” she muttered after a couple of minutes.
“What?” Robin asked, looking at her, confused.
“He doesn’t know how to deal with his guilt. That’s why he drinks. He wants to help out, but doesn’t know how,” Josephine explained, studying Ronald again, seeing him in a whole new light. She looked at Robin, and saw he was now staring down at his feet, deep in thought. “He needs someone to help him.” She paused to let it sink in. “He needs you.”
OUTSIDE THE PEAK
Vacarius turned off the engines. Tractatori turned on the voice disguise device and his com watch. “Kyen, this is Mary Collins. Ares has just landed. They are in hiding and waiting for your command,” he reported.
“Copy. I’ll give them the signal once we start the attack,” Kyen responded. He peered around a corner into the street. Members of the Light Force were patrolling the street. He immediately drew back around the corner.
“Copy,” his grandmother acknowledged and she severed the connection.
“What’s the status?” someone whispered in his ear. He turned and saw it was Amelia, who was standing close to him.
“Super soldiers patrolling the street.” He heard footsteps. Coming in their direction. He flicked his wrist and he and the others retreated further down the alleyway, arrived at an intersection and hurried into the intersecting alleyway, out of sight. Kyen put a finger to his lips to indicate silence. The footsteps drew closer. Then stopped. He silently pressed himself further against the back wall of the building, right by the intersection. He peered through a gap between a garbage can next to him and the corner of the wall. He saw a super soldier standing infront of the alleyway. The soldier was just standing there, staring into the alleyway, not moving.
“What are you doing?”
The super soldier looking into the alleyway turned his or hers head to the left. Kyen noted that the person who had spoken sounded masculine and had a North Korean accent. “I thought I heard something,” the other person answered. Kyen noted that the one who answered had a deep voice with a Japanese accent and sounded masculine as well.
“Let’s go check it out,” the Korean responded. Kyen saw the Japanese nod and start walking down the alleyway cautiously, on the alert for anything. He saw someone else – whom he presumed was the Korean – step into view and follow the Japanese close behind. They arrived at the end of the alleyway at the intersection. Kyen bit his bottom lip. The others were concealed, but if the super soldiers entered the intersecting alleyway and took a close look, they would be found. The soldiers would call reinforcements and they could then kiss their plan goodbye. They had to take over the palace. They stood a better chance in there.
The soldiers slowly walked into the middle of the intersection and looked around. They had to act now. They could easily overwhelm those two, but they would have to do it quickly and quietly so as not to draw attention. Kyen moved his eyes without moving his head. He looked into the alleyway straight ahead and made eye contact with Saul. Kyen raised his fingers slowly and quietly, keeping one eye on the soldiers. He quickly made several signs with his fingers. Thankfully, he was hidden behind a garbage can and a few crates, so the soldiers did not notice. Saul nodded, understanding the command.
Kyen’s hand slowly went down to his belt and gripped his gun, which had armour-piercing rounds in it and had a silencer on. He slowly began drawing it out. One of the soldiers suddenly took a few steps forward in his direction. Kyen froze. He hoped Saul had as well. The soldier stopped infront of the garbage can. Kyen’s heart thudded in his chest. “Hey! Get up, hands raised! NOW!”
Kyen jumped up and aimed the gun at the soldier’s chest. He fired a few rounds. The bullets pierced his armour. The soldier fell down dead. Kyen looked up, his gun raised at the other one…
Except he was lying on the ground, dead.
Kyen looked up and saw Saul standing there with a gun, pointed downwards at the other one. Saul looked up at Kyen and nodded grimly. He and Saul dragged the bodies behind the crates Kyen had been hiding behind. Kyen raised his hand and waved his hand. The others all stood up. He checked his gun. He still had several rounds left, but he had to be careful so as not to run out. The Palace was nearby. There was no more alleyways they could take that would lead them to the Palace. They would have to go through the streets, out in the open.
There has to be another way. In frustration, he glanced up. Then stared. He snapped his fingers. Brilliant!
Andrew made sure that the invisibility cloak was on. Then he turned off the engines.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Andrew accepted the call and holograms of Ronald Carter, Richard Floyd, Jacob Netanyahu, Duncan Frazer, and the leaders of the other rebels that had flown over to the Peak were projected. “What’s your status?” Andrew asked.
“We have all landed,” Duncan reported.
“As have I,” Andrew replied. Using a separate comms channel, he called another person. A hologram of Alexei appeared. Alexei appeared to be moving rather fast. “We have landed. Awaiting your command,” he reported.
“Copy,” Alexei acknowledged. “We are nearly at our destination.”
“Copy,” Andrew and the others acknowledged in unison and they all hung up.
Kyen reached up with his hand and touched his ear, turning on a skin-coloured microphone. “Status report,” he subvocalized.
“In position,” Saul reported.
“In position,” Amelia, Jim, and Chris reported in unison.
“Good. Start climbing,” he ordered. He listened for a moment to the acknowledgements, then turned off the microphone. He looked around the alleyway. Everyone still there was in hiding, waiting for him, Amelia, Saul, Jim, and Chris to come back. Amelia, Jim, Chris, and Saul were in other positions. He walked over to the back wall of a building where there was a fire escape going all the way to the top of the building. He reached down and touched an indiscernible button on the back of both of his boots. Straightening himself, he began to run up the fire escape. He allowed himself to briefly smile. No-one would hear him as he had turned on the silencer embedded in his boots.
Reaching the top, he stepped onto the roof, then crouched and ran over to the edge of the roof. He lay down on his stomach on the roof and pulled out a small square frame – known as a Vframe – with an invisible touch-screen being held up in the frame. Holding it with both hands, he used his thumb to touch the screen, which zoomed in on his target. He brought the square frame close to his left eye, closing his right eye. The miniature camera in the screen moved left, right, up, or down, depending on his eye movement.
Because of the patrols down in the streets, he decided the safest way to scout out the Palace and its own patrols was to go on the roofs of the buildings. He watched as the Super Cyborgs stood perfectly still around the rooftop of the Emperor’s Palace. He reached up and turned on the microphone. “What does it look like?” Kyen subvocalized into the microphone.
“Would be rather difficult,” Jim assessed. Chris, Amelia, and Saul murmured their agreement.
“We are only seeing the top of the Palace. What about the rest of it?” Chris commented.
“I’m going to send up the Sphere. It will stream the footage to your Vframes. Stand by.” Kyen flipped his light saber over so that the butt of the light saber was facing him. He pressed a tiny button on the side of the light saber and the bottom popped open. He turned the light saber right way up with his right hand underneath the butt of light saber. A tiny silver sphere dropped out into the palm of his hand. It had a camera on the side. He placed it down on the roof. Kyen then touched an icon on the Vframe and the Sphere turned on and began levitating. With his thumbs, he typed in an encrypted command and the Sphere’s invisibility cloak turned on and footage from the Sphere’s camera began streaming on his Vframe. On the left hand side was a set of arrows which he just had to press to control the Sphere.
Operating the Sphere, Kyen watched the footage as the Sphere moved through the air towards the Emperor’s Palace. Once it was in position, he pressed the ‘down’ arrow. The Sphere descended, it’s camera pointed at the Palace. Kyen had it circumnavigate around the Palace, making sure it was at the right speed to take in everything. Once the Sphere had gone around the Palace and the surrounding grounds, he caused the Sphere to ascend and come back to him. It landed on the roof next to him and he turned it off. He put it back in the light saber and touched his microphone. “Assessment?”
“We would experience hell just trying to get into the grounds,” Chris commented.
“I agree,” Kyen remarked. The others murmured their agreement. There was more Super Cyborgs around as guards. More than they could handle. How do we get in?
“Kyen?” Amelia subvocalized, shattering his thoughts.
“I noticed that not all of the guards were standing still. Some were moving around on the grounds. They were able to move about freely, from the looks of it.”
“I observed. What are you suggesting?”
“I know how to get in without any trouble.”
Kyen put on a confident air and he and the others all marched straight over to the Palace square, which was right infront of the Palace. Super Cyborgs were guarding the edge of the square as well. The Super Cyborgs they were approaching saw them, and moved to let them pass. Kyen and the others marched straight pass them and towards the Palace. So far, so good.
They all stopped their Hover Boards. Alexei looked at the wall right infront of him, then looked up. There was a hatch. “There’s the entrance,” he remarked. He turned to the others. “You all remember what to do?” he asked. They all nodded. He reached up to open the hatch, and then stopped. With his right hand, he tapped a small screen on the side of the “pen“. By doing that, it would scan the surrounding area right above them to find out their exact location and also to find out if there was anyone nearby. After it had done the scanning – which just took three seconds as it was very fast, it would show the results using the “pen’s” holographic projector.
It almost instantly projected the results and Alexei, Zipporah, Veronica, and Fergus studied the results. “Good. No-one’s around,” Fergus commented.
“So, we’re here,” Alexei mused and touched the holo-map, which zoomed out in response to his touch to show the rest of the Peak. “And the computer building is right here.”
“Just two blocks away,” Veronica said.
“Right. Veronica and Zipporah, you two will go out first and hide in this alleyway here,” Alexei pointed at an alleyway which was directly opposite to where the hatch opened. “Then, the rest of us will start the attack while you two go to the computer building. Understand?” They all nodded.
Alexei turned to the rest of the group to find who was speaking. Diak stepped forward. “Where’s your sister?”
Kyen turned on the comms. So far, the holo-disguises as Super Cyborgs were working. They entered the Emperor’s Palace. Kyen lead them down a hallway. “Start now,” he subvocalized.
Tractatori acknowledged the command, and turned off the comms. He had rerouted the call and scoured his excessive list of everyone’s voice prints to find Zeke Collins’ voice, then uploaded his voice print to his voice disguise device and turned it on. With his talents, he had done all that in just a few seconds. He called the rest of his fleet. “Now.”
Zipporah crouched down beside Veronica. She was glad to be out of the tunnel after Diak had asked that question. Alexei had explained, but the air had turned cold and no-one had been pleased with Alexei’s decision. They watched from their position in the alleyway as Alexei led the others out of the tunnel, sweeping the area with the laser guidance on their laser guns. “Go,” Alexei commanded over the comms in her and Veronica’s helmets.
“Copy,” Zipporah and Veronica acknowledged in unison and they both severed the connection. She and Veronica stood up and headed for the computer building.
Ramses La Magne leaned casually back in his chair and formed a steeple with his fingers. He could feel the messenger’s growing anxiety, which helped dull La Magne’s anger a little. He nonchalantly inspected the arm of his jacket. He lightly dusted it with his hand, closely scrutinised it, and flicked an imaginary speck of dust off of it. “You mean to tell me that they broke into the Peak?” La Magne asked in a warm, friendly tone.
The messenger swallowed. “Y-y-yes, Honourable La Magne.”
“And, according to the last digital input from D407, low and behold, our intruders are none other than someone masquerading as his Eminence and a group of people, some of whom are members of the Collins bloodline.” The messenger gulped and took a slight step back at La Magne’s sarcastic voice. La Magne gave an exaggerated sigh and stood up. He saw the messenger flinch. He reached down and opened the bottom left hand drawer. He ran his left middle finger along the top edge of the drawer before reaching in and pretended to be searching through the papers in the drawer, enjoying the messenger’s fear and anxiety. His hand found the cold steel and his fingers wrapped around it, slowly drawing it out. He shut the drawer with his right hand, but kept the gun hidden behind the desk, out of sight.
“I see,” he said like he was discussing the weather. “Anything else, Nick?” He allowed his voice to harden on the last word.
Nick’s phone beeped. Nick quickly pulled it out and spoke into it. “Yes? Oh. I-I see.” La Magne noted the dread that had been dripping in Nick’s voice after the ‘Yes?‘. Nick pocketed his phone and bowed deeply. “Honourable La Magne, I-I have j-just received word that another group have infiltrated the Peak – the Zionists.” La Magne began tapping his foot. “A-and,” Nick swallowed, “the front gate has been destroyed and a third group-”
La Magne lifted the gun.
And pulled the trigger.
Kyen led them down a hallway. There was no-one else in the hallway. He touched the microphone on his ear. “Execute,” he subvocalized. He heard the thud of bodies hitting the floor.
Kyen froze. That’s not Chris or Jim. He turned around. WHAM!!!
Amelia stood over him. Kyen momentarily looked surprised, but he quickly adopted an indifferent expression. “So, you were going to have your ‘mercenaries’ kill us all along,” she said quietly.
“How did you know?”
“Bugged you by orders of Grandmother,” Amelia spat the last word out. She saw that comprehension dawn on his face. She smiled patronisingly, knowing what he had just realized. “Yep, I heard exactly what you were planning with those ‘mercenaries’,” she confirmed. She turned around to Saul. He looked at her and Amelia pointed at a hallway branching off to her right and then at another one to her left. Saul nodded and, without a word, sent part of the Collins group down the one on the left while he and the rest of the Collins went down the one on the right. Amelia turned back to Kyen, who had now stood up.
“You guys had this planned,” he commented. Amelia smirked. Kyen punched her in the solar plexus. She doubled over in pain, her mouth open, trying to breathe. Kyen kicked her in the face, knocking her to the ground. He ran over and grabbed her gun. “You don’t want to kill me,” she heard him say over the ringing of her ears. She finally sucked in air. The ringing subsided and she tasted blood in her mouth.
“Wrong. I do want to kill you,” Amelia said, getting to her feet. “Then, I can have the throne, Granny’s pet.” Kyen shrugged indifferently, aiming the gun at her. She swung at him with a roundhouse kick, but Kyen blocked it, then pulled the trigger.
“Right around this corner,” Zipporah commented after briefly consulting her holo-map. Buzz….
“Did you hear that?” Zipporah whispered.
“Hear what?” Veronica replied.
“What is that?” Veronica whispered. They looked behind them into the alleyway. Zipporah looked around carefully. There was nothing there. She and Veronica looked around the corner. There was no-one around. What’s making those noises?
Hang on. That’s coming from… She looked skywards. “Oh, shit!”
A robotic Inland taipan was sliding down the wall towards them. It’s mouth was opening and its robotic tongue kept flicking in and out. It’s eyes were focused on them. Peering down from the rooftop was a large robotic gorilla and there was a swarm of robotic bees was flying down towards them.
They ran around the corner and down the street, feet pounding on the pavement. Zipporah glanced over her shoulder as they ran across the street. She saw the robotic bees were just about to reach them.
“Down!” She cried and tackled Veronica to the road. The robotic bees flew just above their heads. The buzzing faded. Zipporah and Veronica raised their heads. The bees had disappeared and they could not see the gorilla or the snake. Where had they gone? Not wanting to stick around and find out, they scrambled to their feet and ran onto the street. There was cars parked by the kerb, lining the side of the street. They turned left and, crouching down to hide behind the cars, they ran down the street towards the computer building. Zipporah looked at the business buildings as they past, trying to recognize the computer building. Where was it? Where? There! “V, there i-”
They skidded to a stop as a robotic gorilla jumped down onto the footpath right infront of them. They turned around and started running the other way, but stopped when they saw another robotic gorilla standing there. Both of the gorillas were pounding their fists in their other hand. Heck!
Robin raised the grenade launcher and aimed it at a Salamander that was up the road, facing away from him. He fired. The grenade flew through the air.
Robin dropped to the footpath. There was a loud BOOM! which made his ears hurt. Bits of the Salamander flew everywhere. He pushed himself onto his knees. He saw that where the Salamander had been there was now nothing but the skeleton. Flames engulfed the skeleton.
Out of the corner of his eye, Ronald saw a glint of something. But just as soon as it appeared, it disappeared. Ronald looked up and saw something sticking out of an upper window in a building.
It was the barrel of a gun.
He raised his laser gun and fired several laser bolts up at the window. Fire erupted in the room. He and Robin then ducked as laser bolts hit the street near them. Ronald had seen where the shooter was, and he fired laser bolts up at the ground window of a building just across the street.
They ran further down the street, past the burning remains of the Salamander. Ronald kicked a door down and threw a grenade in the room and pressed himself against the wall, blocking his ears. He felt the explosion, then ran over to Robin and Josephine. Holding grenades, they threw them at the windows on the upper floor. The grenades shot through the windows, shattering the glass. The ground shook as the grenades exploded.
Saul turned on a comwatch he was wearing. “Amelia dead. Stay on this channel. Take orders from me. Acknowledge.”
“Roger that. What’s our orders?”
“Primary goal of Peter Collins still in swing. Proceed with cleaning,” Saul ordered. “If you see Kyen Collins, kill him.”
“Roger that,” and Saul severed the connection. He then spotted a door that was shut up ahead. He went over and tried to turn the handle. It would not budge. Locked. He turned around to face his group and held his hand up with a flat palm and his group crouched down. Saul pointed at members of his team and then pointed at the right side of the door. After they went to their positions, he pointed at the rest of the group, who positioned themselves by the left side of the door and they covered the door with their weapons.
Then, each person behind the first people by the door started squeezing shoulders. Once they had all received a squeeze, Saul nodded at his brother, Giovanni Collins, who aimed his gun at the door handle and fired two rounds. Giovanni kicked the door open and he, Saul, and eight others entered the room. They found themselves in a large, ornate bedroom with a queen’s sized bed. There was oil paintings hanging on the walls of landscapes, the ocean and such; and detailed gold engravings of leaves, grape vines, flowers, crowns and such, around the room. Someone sat up suddenly in bed, looking like he had just woken up. “What?” he said groggily. Saul recognized the man’s voice. Christopher Green. One of the members of the Court of Scarlet.
They raised their guns and fired a few rounds. Green’s corpse collapsed sideways on the bed, his arm hanging over the edge. One down.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Saul and the others instinctively crouched. Saul looked out through the open doorway and saw his group firing at something in the hallway. One dropped, dead. Then another one. And another one.
Probably the guards, Saul realized. Saul saw that Giovanni had a M79 Grenade Launcher. Using hand signals, he told Giovanni to fire grenades into the hallway. Giovanni quickly ducked his head in and checked the position of the targets. Saul saw bullets hit the doorway just above Giovanni’s head. Giovanni quickly ducked back into the room just a laser bolt hit the floor right next to the doorway.
Giovanni pointed the M79 Grenade Launcher in the direction of the targets and fired. Saul heard the sound of the grenade hitting the floor and rolling. Four. He heard Giovanni fire a second one, then ran over to the bed and hid behind it, hiding as far away from the door as possible. Three. Saul and the others ran over and hid behind the bed, on the side furthest from the door.
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