Zero stood on the balcony of the Orwell Building. It was some company that made prototypes of weapons. All of the employees were sent home without an explanation. The building was practically deserted other than his hand full of followers and some guns for hire. The building’s owner was kind enough to lend his building to the just cause of taking over the world. Well, that and he owed Zero. If you owe Zero, it was wise to give him what he wants when he wants it.
Zero looked behind him. He watched the little computer whiz, Nest, type away franticly at a laptop. Several cords left the laptop and connected at the base of the machine. The cat eye sat in the center of the tall building. The inner and outer parts had not begun to spin yet but it was still daunting nonetheless. At its highest point it was twice the average height of a man. The narrow sliver had a width of about half.
He smiled. It was about time his plan was able to jump into action. His smile disappeared when he sensed something. He looked out over the darkening horizon. The sun was setting so there was still enough light seeping from the horizon. Zero sighed.
“Oh, Fang, will you ever learn?” he whispered.
“You talkin’ to yourself now? C’mon, you can’t go crazy yet,” Zorah said as she walked up, “Wait till after you control the world. I don’t work for crazies.”
Two staffs of her creation hung in their respective sheaths. She wore a solid blue wavy shirt and her black leggings underneath a blue skirt with side slits up to her waist on both sides. A brown belt was placed around her waist.
Zero gave her only a moment’s glance.
“When we goin’ to beat the crap out of those crazy punks?” Zorah folded her arms and leaned her weight on one side.
“I thought I told Rose to tell you to wait,” Zero muttered.
“‘E did,” Zorah shrugged, “I got bored.”
Zero thought a moment on whether or not to answer the question, “They should be here soon. Go back and get the others ready.”
“Oh, you puttin’ me in charge now?” Zorah questioned.
In that moment, Zero nearly killed her.
Nest spoke up before he could, “It will take a while for everything to be in place and start. If they are coming, I would appreciate it if someone would stay up here with me.”
Zero didn’t answer. He was still seething with sudden anger.
“I can’t activate this thing and fight at the same time,” Nest continued.
Finally, Zero nodded, “Get Rose up here,” he said to Zorah.
She glared at Zero a moment before shifting her weight to leave, “A freakin’ please and thank you would be nice.”
Zero waited until she left. He let out a sharp sigh, “Well, then.”
Nest ignored him, knowing Zero was talking to himself again. He sensed Zero’s gaze on him for a while. Nest sighed and gave it no thought. Zero was probably looking at the device anyway. He had a tendency to look at things he was proud of with a cold kind of fondness; as long as they weren’t human.
Nest looked at the numbers scrolling across his screen. The program was complete as far as setting it up was concerned. Now he had to work on activating the device which took an entirely different process altogether.
“Will you be alright up here?”
Nest jumped slightly. He hadn’t heard Zero walk up behind him.
“I should be fine with Black Rose here,” Nest answered.
Zero nodded. He seemed somewhat satisfied and walked away. He looked over the horizon again. Zero could sense Fang getting closer. His different colored eyes narrowed. He obviously needed a little more time. Then he smiled.
“Let’s see how fast you can get up here starting from the first floor.”
Zero set one hand on the raised edge of the roof. A dark blue line of light jetted out from either side of his hand. Once it reached the edge of the building in both ends shot off in two other directions, one toward the width of the building and the other straight down. Once the lines touched the bottom a type of glass appeared and stood around the building extending high into the atmosphere above the building. It wasn’t glass exactly but a force field. All was covered in the strange bluish tint except the front doors.
Zero smiled as Rose walked in.
Rose looked annoyed, “You called?”
“I hope that tone of voice is because of Thae and not my summoning you,” Zero didn’t even look at Rose.
Rose bowed slightly, “My apologies.”
“I want you to stay here and help guard Nest while he finishes up,” Zero commanded, “I think I’ll go find a place to properly kill Fang.” A dark smile spread across his face.
Rose nodded and went to stand by Nest, looking over his shoulder, a rose near his mouth. Zero stepped away from the edge and began walking inside.
Fang was the first to get to one of the closest buildings. He stopped suddenly and waited for the others to catch up. Shadow walked to his side from a metal generator behind them. Together they looked at the strange wall surrounding the building. For a moment Fang thought that he saw someone high above them on the ledge but they disappeared before Fang could get a good look. Fang had his best bet that it was Zero.
“Looks like they left the front doors open for us,” Shadow reported.
Fang nodded thoughtfully, he was thinking how to best got about this. With one entrance, that would cut down his list of plans. Quickly, Fang turned around. The others had caught up. They looked very determined after the run. Arisa was gripping onto Blue’s back; he had carried her during the run. Penelope’s eyes narrowed as she pushed up her glasses. Alister was cocking one of his weapons and Raven was standing still waiting for her marching orders.
An outcast cop, a little girl, a child soldier, a shadow, a computer nerd, a test subject and a Harvard graduate. Anyone in their right mind would throw in the towel and call it a day, go home and wait for the world to end. But they weren’t in their right mind now were they.
“Alister, Raven, you two go in first. Be ready for anything,” Fang commanded, “I’m sure they are expecting us.”
“Kinda hard not to guard one door,” Alister muttered under his breath.
“Whatever you say,” Raven nodded.
Fang looked over at Blue, “Arisa will come with me and Shadow.”
Blue nodded his understanding. Arisa jumped off Blue’s back and opened her mouth in protest.
“But Blue and I are always together! Besides, if I go with you, Blue won’t have anyone to back him up! I—”
Blue placed a hand on her shoulder. He crouched down so that he was at eye level with her. He smiled. It was a smile mixed with comfort and a hint of sadness.
It’s all right. I’ll be fine. After all of this, we’ll go get some ice cream if you’re good. But you have to stay with Fang and Shadow, okay?
Arisa nodded so hard that her ponytail could have come undone. She suddenly threw her arm around Blue’s neck and held on tight. Blue at first was startled but he quickly held her as well.
Alister turned away from the others, hiding his face. Raven’s eyes darted to the ground briefly. The others shifted uncomfortably. Fang even dipped his head to the side slightly.
Arisa let go of Blue’s neck. Her eyes were red and puffy but she didn’t allow the tears to fall.
“You promise?” she said, “You promise we’ll get ice cream later?”
“I like strawberry vanilla ice cream with strawberry chunks in it topped with strawberry sauce and white chocolate chips.”
“You know why?”
Blue gave her a slightly perplexed look. He hadn’t given it any thought.
“I like strawberry vanilla ice cream with strawberry chunks in it topped with strawberry sauce and white chocolate chips because it looks good beside your plain Blue Moon ice cream with those white and dark blue sprinkles with one cherry on top! When they all get melted in the bowls, yours looks like the moon and mine looks like the sun!”
Arisa was shaking trying to hold back the tears, “So you had better promise me that no matter what we will have our sun and moon ice creams together!”
Blue smiled and nodded once. I promise.
Arisa hugged him again before walking over to where Fang stood. Blue stood up he met Fang’s eyes.
Please don’t let anything happen to her, Blue said so subtly that only Fang could have understood it completely.
Fang nodded quickly and looked toward Penelope, “You head for the roof as fast as you can. You’re the only one who can even hope to disengage that thing. Hopefully one of us can come up to help you out later.”
“What if there is someone up there?” Penelope asked.
“Then hold back unless you think otherwise,” Fang stated. He looked around briefly, “Any other questions?”
No one said anything.
Fang thought a moment, “We all have our own reasons for being rejected by the Tower—”
“Don’t play well with others,” Shadow interrupted.
Alister smiled, “Family history.”
“Child soldier,” Raver added.
Penelope’s eyes widened, “Dissociative Identity Disorder!”
“What?” Alister asked. Penelope rolled her eyes.
Unstable science experiment.
“To young,” Arisa muttered
“In other words,” Fang continued, “we’re all pretty much insane. I guess it’s time we release all hell and act like it.”
This got a few smiles from the group. Alister’s signature smile spread across his face like a wolf bearing its teeth.
“Well, you two,” Fang looked from Alister to Raven, “would you two clear the way for the rest of us.”
Rows and rows of men in black clothes and guns ran down the stairs to gather on the balconies around the entrance. Zorah walked in strides as men and women ran around her. She spotted the others. Hands on her hips, she went to do some leading.
“Hey!” she called to the Other’s gathered around waiting.
They looked at her blankly except for Edonya who waved ecstatically at her. Thae seemed to be slowly stepping away from her, not wanting to me associated with the hyperactive girl beside him.
Zorah stopped and took a deep breath, “All right! Doesn’t this look familiar?! Standin’ here waitin’ for those blokes to barge through the front door?! An’ what are we doin’ here! Waiting! They’ll probably throw hot coals on us this time instead of cool refreshin’ water!”
Zorah looked at the three people in front of her, “You!” she pointed at Flare, “Stand behind that pillar down there! Keep an eye on one of ‘em and follow ‘em then take ‘em out! Got it!”
Flare nodded and walked down a flight of stairs to the first floor.
“Thae! You hide in the walls or somethin’!”
Thae nodded and vanished into a wall.
“You!” Zorah stopped suddenly. Edonya stood with a huge smile on her face. She resumed, “You hide somewhere and do the same thing!”
Edonya saluted Zorah and ran off somewhere. Satisfied Zorah walked to the glass window on the second floor that overlooked the first floor lobby. Laser points were pointed at the two doors that were now the only entrance into the building. She was there for only one reason and it wasn’t to see Zero’s plan through. Zorah was there purely for revenge and the fact that she would have had to fight her way out of joining. It just seemed easier to join. She got to live, she got her revenge; two very pleasant fat birds with one huge stone.
Just then something smashed through the glass doors. Several men shot at the doors expecting to hit their targets but no one walked through. As they realized that, their eyes landed on the object that had been thrown in. It was round and in rolled in a lazy circle, circling smaller and smaller until in flopped to one side similar to when a quarter would roll. Everyone paused.
Zorah took one look at the round circle and ran out to the balcony, “Run, you fools! Get back! That’s a—”
There was a loud explosion and the device detonated. Zorah was blown back through the glass back in to the room she was just in. Glass shattered and people were blown everywhere.
Behind the pillar, Flare pressed herself against the pillar as fire and flames temporarily engulfed her. Because of her powers, the fire had no real effect but the threat of the pillar coming down on her was very real.
Edonya had been on her way to a hiding place when she had been blown to the ground. She could feel the raging hear above her as a company tapestry burned above her. There was a weight on her back as she lay face down in the dirt and grime caused by the explosion.
Zorah groaned in pain. Her ears rang and yet she couldn’t hear much of anything else. She reached a hand to her side and pulled out a piece of glass. With some effort she managed to roll on her side and get to her feet. She stumbled over her footing at first but was able to steady herself. Blood flowed down her face from a scratch just above her life eye brow. She leaned against the framework of one of the windows.
Alister and Raven walked in just then, Alister readied his gun and fired a stream of shots up into the second level. Raven darted past him, jumped onto an over turned table and vaulted herself onto the second floor. She reached for one of her long swords and landed a downward arch onto the person in front of her. Raven gripped the hilt of the blade with both hands and brought both her hands to the right side of her face. She then charged forward at the men with guns in front of her.
Flare crouched down when she heard the bullets riddle her hiding place with holes. Edonya stiffened slightly as the bullets made holes in the wall above her.
Alister stopped firing momentarily to grab another loaded gun that hung from his shoulder. Fang walked followed by the others. Penelope ran toward the stairs to the left and was gone down the second floor hallway in about five seconds flat.
Flare looked around the corner of her refuge and quickly looked away. Blue was close behind Fang and he took a brief look around. Flare risked another look and regretted it. She met Blue’s eyes for a brief moment. For a few seconds, she wasn’t sure what to do. Eventually, she decided to run. She turned and ran down a nearby hallway.
Blue was about to run after her when someone grabbed his hand.
“Careful, Blue,” Fang said quickly, “You have a promise to keep.”
Blue nodded and Fang let go. He ran after the orange haired girl. Arisa, defiant about Blue’s departure, started to run after him. Fang grabbed her quickly and threw her over her shoulder.
“Shadow!” Fang called over Arisa’s screaming.
Shadow nodded. He ran after Fang as he ran up the stairs to the right. Temporarily, Alister’s bullets stopped as Fang and the others made their way to the hallway.
Zorah ducked down quickly. She swore to herself. She had been hoping that Fang would be alone. Unfortunately he had two others with him. Zorah knew that she couldn’t take on that many in her current position. She would have to settle with someone else for now.
Edonya turned her head in time to see the blue one chase Flare down the hallway. When the bullets stopped, she pushed off what was on top of her and ran down the same hallway, determined to give her friend a hand. Her pink genie attire was dirtied and torn in places. She ran barefoot though the rubble as she ran to the hallway. When she was at the mouth of the hall the gunshots fired again.
Alister looked at the men up on the second floor. There were more were coming by the minute. He had plenty of ammo and guns to last him a while. And if worse came to worse he could use his powers. He grabbed another magazine and loaded his gun and started firing again.
Raven ran up one of the walls and did a flip half way up. She landed behind the men firing at her. When she landed she ran forward cutting men down as she went. She stopped and looked up and one of the higher levels. There, looking down at the scene below was Zero. He smiled down at her then turned away in to the darkness of the room.
The sun outside had set, sending the whole tower into an ever darkening twilight.