The two girls got back to the dorm, both seeming to be in high spirits.
“I can’t believe you finally asked him out!” the first giggled.
“Says you, Ms. I-can’t-get-a-date-to-save-my-life!”
That got a cold look. “I’ll have you know it’s Princess!”
“Fine, Princess I-can’t-get-a-date-to-save-my-life!”
“So that’s how it is.” She jumped on top of her companion, tickling her into submission. The two laid there for some time, enjoying each other’s company.
“Hey Sara, I was thinking – you should come back to the Empire with me! You’re a hell of an engineer. I bet you could get any job you wanted there.”
The girl looked down. “I’m a Number, Mary. You know how things are there.”
“I don’t care about that! I don’t want graduation to be the last time we see each other. I mean, I go home, so do you. I don’t want this to be goodbye.”
She got up, hugging her friend close. “You’re an Imperial Princess, Mary. I refuse to believe that you can’t find a way to see me again.” She pulled back, her eyes glistening. “I’ll be here when you do.”
The baton came down on the base of his energy sword, causing it to fall apart. Azrael was scared. For the first time, he really had to consider that he was going to die here. In a snap, he brought his pistols to bear. Two-Face activated his shield, taking a stance he knew from his days as a cop with a riot shield. None of the rounds hit. Azrael was getting scared.
“Why?! Why am I worse than you?! I have better Armor, a better team and I even had God on my side! How am I losing this battle?!”
In a flash, his opponent was back on his feet. He used the shield as he would have in a riot, smacking Azrael down. He spun his baton around, having it face downward, like a striking sword. It slammed into the back of the Armor, right on top of the core. The man’s body was involuntarily jerking, with warning lights flashing all over inside his helmet. That was when he had one last thing he could do. The unit suddenly burst open, with Azrael running for it on-foot. Two-Face stood up from the fallen Armor, collapsing his helmet.
“You coward! Stand tall and die like a man!”
Azrael stopped running, turning to see Two-Face walking toward him.
“I hate you! All of you! It all could have been so much simpler. We join with Adam, get rich and live fat off of the fruits of the Empire. What’s wrong with that?!”
Two-Face started to snarl. “Do you have ANY pride at all?! Any integrity which tells us that we are NOT tools for ANYONE else to use?!”
“Fuck you, you bleeding hypocrites! You’re Wolf’s tool! Look me in the eye and tell me I’m wrong!”
He looked Azrael right in the eye. “You’re wrong. We are soldiers, and she is our commanding officer. She has shown her skill in battle. What’s more, it’s obvious to anyone who pays attention that she has a greater objective than just ruling the Empire. Something is changing. My country is back. The world is becoming a better place. But at the end of the day, you’re just another money-grubbing asshole like the rest. Man of God my ass!”
There was a pause as Azrael started laughing. It got louder and louder until he burst.
“Do you really believe that the rest of the church is any better? It’s clear that God doesn’t give a shit about any of us anymore. If he cared, he would be have come here and been with us, told us all to stop fighting. Instead, well, I think you know how that worked out.”
The two stared at one-another.
“Well, I guess that we both know where this has to go,” Azrael sight. “Get it over with.”
Two-Face cocked an eyebrow. “You could always surrender.”
He shook his head. “Nah. I think that I’ll take death. I have a bone to pick with God. Might as well do it now. It’s been an…interesting ride.”
The man drew one of his pistols. “To quote Americans, happy trails, partner.” The round took Azrael’s head clean off. Two-Face didn’t stick around. He had had enough of this battle.
She came into the room a little after 2 in the morning. Trying to be quiet, she slipped her shoes off and took off her skirt. She fell into bed, only to have the light turn on.
“You didn’t think that you were just going to get out of this without telling me how it went, did you?!” Mary had a big smile on her face.
Sara shrugged. “Who can say.”
“You fucking better! I’m going to hurt you if you don’t!” The two of them shared a laugh.
“Well, he’s a really neat guy. Works for the Empire. We didn’t go out to dinner. We had it at his place. The guy is an amazing cook!”
Mary gave her a look. “So jealous…”
“After that, well, it went places…”
“Even more jealous.”
“I’m going out to see him tomorrow. You should meet him!”
The first creature to come at them was the cat. It’s claws were like daggers as it blazed over to them. The two jumped away, landing on either side. It looked to Sinestro, running right at her. She started to glow blue, using the energy fields to vault herself around the room. The cat didn’t seem even slowed by this. It leapt after her, almost always being on top of her. Its claws could hang on to the wall, ledges, everything. Radio came up behind it, turning her sound-boosters on. Time to see what this is made of. The booster came on and sound filled the room. The Knight looked up, nervous. The cat started to shake its head, rubbing its ears, as if trying to get the sound off of it. Let’s see how much kitty can take! The sounds got louder and louder, with Radio using her talent to help direct it at the cat. By now, the animal was screaming, rubbing its head into the ground, as if to make it stop.
“Don’t hurt my kitty!” She looked at the snake. “Make her stop!”
The creature hissed, its massive coils moving over to her. Radio caught sight of this, having to turn off the sound. The tail-mounted gun trained on her and let-loose. The barrage seemed endless. She was doing everything she could to dodge it, but the snake had the advantage. It’s tail was infinitely flexible, it never lost track of her and the force of the weapon seemed to do nothing to slow it down.
At the same time, the cat was back on its feet and coming back at Sinestro. Beneath the helmet, she growled.
“Fuck you, pussy-cat!” She sent out a shockwave of blue light. The cat screamed as it smacked into the wall behind it.
“KITTY!” The girl sounded so young when she said that. Like a child’s brain in a woman’s body. It righted itself and roared at her. As it did, a gun barrel extended over the front-shoulder and fired. Barely missing her, it nearly took out the wall behind her. Sinestro boosted up, sending a ball of energy at the cat. This sent it flying even faster. It slammed into another wall with a sound that was off-putting in every way. Like bone crunching into glass. The cat dragged itself up, moaning in pain. The Knight looked like she was about to cry as she stared at her comrade.
But the cat wasn’t out of tricks. It reared back, with another gun-barrel appearing. Now, rounds were firing over and over. Like semi-automatic exploding rounds. Sinestro moved fast, ducking each and keeping low. Finally, she got within striking distance of the cat. It went at her with its claws, slashing a barrier the girl put up.
“Night-night, pussy-cat!” Her entire arm glowed blue as she slammed it into the neck of the cat. There was a crunch, gurgle and it laid flat.
“NO!” She turned to the bull. “Kill her!”
Meanwhile, Radio was running for her life through the halls of the building. The snake was filling them, but staying on her. She got into another large space, now with some privacy. The chaingun came back-online, turning the room into Swiss cheese. Radio moved fast, keeping low as well. Barely being ahead of the giant gun, she got close. Her suit had been building up a sonic blast for a while now. She was ready to use it. There was a moment where time seemed to stop as she got right under the massive mouth. The blast sent the creature flying through the glass roof, landing right back in the room they came from. She was right behind it, sending another blast into where the creature landed.
As she came down on the snake, it suddenly reared up, grabbing her with its mouth. It sent her flying into the wall, immediately grabbing on to her and wrapping its coils around her.
“Yes,” the Knight giggled. “Die! Die-die-die-die-die! You can die for hurting my pets! Kill her now!”
Radio’s Armor was now totally falling apart. She couldn’t breath. She was becoming desperate for something, anything that could help her. The warning lights were blaring. Sinestro was screaming. It looked like this was it.
Just then, the snake screamed in pain. The Knight turned to see the preying mantis stabbing it with its skewer-like arms.
“What are you doing?! Why are you hurting your friend?!”
There was no response. It just kept ripping the snake apart, with it hissing in agony. Finally, the energy tubes running down each limb went off, cleaving the snake in half with perfectly-focused energy beams. It twitched and twitched as it fell to the ground. The Bull turned and let-loose with a barrage of missiles, blasting both animals to bits. The Knight was now screaming and crying. The bull suddenly also turned. It faced her, charging.
“No! Stop! Please!” It slammed into the Knight, carrying her all the way across the room, bashing her guts all over the wall, in addition to the Armor she wore. A particle beam then took its head off.
Everyone turned to see Ghost and Copperhead standing there. Next to them was Ventriloquist.
“We thought you could use some help,” she greeted.
Sinestro ran over to Radio, helping her up. “You thought right. Nice work, kiddo! Same goes for you buddy, Vincent.” Everyone turned to look back at the carnage around them. It was still terrifying. Even now.
“Let’s get Radio out of here,” Ghost said, grabbing her other arm. The room was absolutely covered in guts.
The two arrived in a room filled with people. They all seemed very excited. Everyone was wearing armbands. It was done early in the process of making Canada a satellite nation. All Numbers had to wear some form of identification. That fell out of style later on.
Mary felt a little nervous, but Sara seemed excited, so so she was too.
“You’re gonna love my dad. He’s just the kind of man you’d be cozy around. Former military, decorated officer, given a pardon by the Empire when his forces surrendered. Even the Empire’s soldiers think he’s cool.”
She nodded, more than a little impressed. They got through the crowd to see a man in a military uniformed, with medals and the marks of his rank on it. His hair was starting to gray, which looked very nice on him. There was something about this man where he carried himself with such confidence that you couldn’t help but admire it.
“Daddy!” Sara called out.
The man turned around and smiled. He had a well-trimmed Admiral’s beard. Despite his aging, the man was very, very attractive.
“Sara! Come here, baby-girl!” The two hugged tight. He hadn’t seen his daughter in a couple years.
“I’ve missed you, dad.” She let him go, turning to her friend. “Mary, I’d like you to meet Francois Plomondon! First Lieutenant of the Imperial Regional Division. He is in command of the Honorable Americans who are in the military. It’s a big responsibility, but that’s why they gave it to him.”
She held out her hand. “It’s an honor to meet you, Lieutenant! I can see why Sara is proud of you.”
He seemed sheepish. “Please, just call me Franc. You’re a friend to Sara, and that means that you’re a friend to me too. I won’t have a friend of my family being so formal.”
The three shared a laugh. The room was filled with Honorary Americans who were having a dinner to recognize those among them who had done great things for themselves and the people of that nation. The Viceroy of Area 7 was attending. A very soft-spoken man who had not done wrong by the Numbers. He was happy to be there.
After it was done, the three went to get a more regular meal at a place that served noodles. It was cheap, cozy and out of the way.
“So, Sara tells me that you’re going to be working directly for the royalty of the Empire. Your parents must be honored.”
Mary had gone out of her way to tell Sarah not to say that she was royalty. “They are. It’s a big responsibility, but I think I’m up to the task. Here’s hoping that all the education I’ve gotten here will help.”
Sara smiled. “She wants to be serving in the Imperial military, directly under one of the children of the Emperor!”
Franc was impressed. “Not bad! For a woman as young as you, that is an excellent goal. I see great things in your future.”
Just then, Sara got a ring on her phone. “Oh shit, sorry! This is kind of important. I’ll be right back!” She got up fast, bustling to the back.
Mary smiled after her. “I swear, that girl and her phone are merged at the hip.”
Franc laughed. “So it is with all people these days.”
“While we’re waiting for her to get done with her call, I think I’ll go use the little girl’s room. Be right back.”
The man looked to where Sara had gone. “Something tells me that you can take your time.” The two shared a chuckle on that point.
As she got to where the restroom was, she saw Sara, who had her back to her, leaning on the wall that led to the janitor’s closet.
“It doesn’t matter! We’ll get the weapons and meet up in a couple days. It’s time we make the Empire know that we can hit them where it hurts!”
When Sara turned around, Mary was gone. She had quickly ducked into the bathroom. Tears were forming in her eyes.
The mechanical behemoth was unraveling even more. This thing was a veritable arsenal. Chainguns, automatic shotguns, missile launchers, particle cannons. You name it, it had it.
“See what this machine can do!” It unleashes barrage after barrage of micro-missiles. Banes and the League of Assassins used their boosters to get back. Full-Crank leapt down beneath the overpass. He knew that going at this creature from the front was suicide. He had an idea. The monster was blasting the entire area. The Assassins and Bane found that they couldn’t get far enough away. It was like the thing didn’t run out of ammo. Just when it seemed to stop, that’s when things got worse. The legs on it started to use boost it up with particle fields.
“Can this get any worse?!” Bane groaned. That’s when two chainguns came out of the machine and opened fire.
“You had to ask, didn’t you?!” Beta yelled as they glided away. The enemy was easily keeping pace, starting to catch up to them. The road was now utterly in ruin. Bane finally got some distance, turning and letting the last of his micro-missiles fly. Right as they would to impact the enemy, they seemed to be stopped. It was just like the WASP! The thing had a perfect shield. Or did it? From where he was, Full-Crank could see that the shield was only in front. Made sense. This weapon was the kind where anyone who was smart would be running, so attacks from the front were all it would have to expect. It also covered the base of the mechanical monster, for when it attacked from above. Not bad! The man moved fast. He could see whole chunks of bridge being destroyed.
“Scream for me!” the monster blared. More missile impacts. Then a massive particle beam. It was as if the creature never ran out of energy. Full-Crank was nearly where he wanted to be.
In the meantime, Bane and the rest of the Assassins were using whatever cover they could find. Now on the charred remains of a bridge, the enormous machine was raining down grenades that were filled with napalm. It was terrifying. The rain of munitions never ended. Bane finally had some breathing room to get his particle beam working. He took aim through a wall, knowing that the beam would easily punch through. The Assassins helped him target, since he couldn’t see the enemy. The cannon ripped out with the blood-red beam, smacking into the shield and even pushing the creature back. However, it held. What’s more, it knew where they were now. Sending barrage after barrage of micro-missiles, it seemed to be enjoying this.
It was then that Full-Crank made his move. He was above the creature, using his talent to control metal to land on top of it. It started trying to throw him off, but he was right in the middle of its weaponry. Which meant that he was able to manipulate it to his own use. The creatures seemed to be screaming as he took the components apart. The metallic guts were spewing out, along with more than a few particle streams. Finally, he ripped the guns apart and then the armor. After ripping the leg components to pieces, the monster went crashing down onto the destroyed bridge. Full-Crank was helped to his feet, backing off fast. It was still alive! Now looking like a stripped tank, the creature was running toward them. The eyes were glowing red, filled with rage.
“You humans make me sick!”
It was then that two bullets impacted the core. They seemed to come from an impossible distance. They monster started to scream in rage as particles started to flow out faster and fast. The lot of them took off running before it exploded into a mass of munitions and crispy parts. Everyone looked, seeing Deadshot and Delta on a rooftop, holding up their rifles in victory.
“Damn show-offs!” Alpha whispered, happy to be alive.
“Alright, let’s call in some evac and get to the palace. The fighting is still thick there. True enough, almost the entire city was quiet now, save there. Transports were going back and forth, getting detained enemy soldiers and taking them to holding cells in the airships. With the moon overhead, it was so quiet.
Mary waited in their room. She was crying. She knew what she had to do. What it was her duty to do. But that didn’t make it any easier. The door opened and Sara saw her there.
“Marianne, what’s wrong?” She ran over, sitting beside her.
“I know, Sara. I know everything. You’re helping the insurgency! You’re giving them weapons! Why?!”
The girl stood up fast, getting cold. “We were a proud nation once! A nation with dreams and the power to make them happen. My father, the proud and noble man, who was one of the greatest soldiers who ever lived, has been reduced to being a slave for the Empire. I’ll see your Empire in Hell before I call them my friend!”
“And what about me?!”
“What about you?! Your nation is rotten. If you are going to stand with them, then I guess that that’s how it is. Now the question is, what are you going to do about it?”
The answer came in the form of a bullet. It went right through Sara’s rib cage.
“I’m sorry, Sara! I’m so sorry!” The fact was, she would have given anything for it to be another way. She had many years for her heart to harden..
“That’s when I found out that the dear friend of my daughter was the daughter of William Beckett, Emperor of America. You certainly made headlines. It helped your reputation to bring in one of the leaders of the ‘insurgency,’ didn’t it? You brought in her boyfriend, too. Then they came for me. Alas, they didn’t get me. I wasn’t working with the resistance at that time, but that’s neither here nor there.” Deathstroke got to the bottom step. “I have just one question for you – why did you do it? Why did you kill her? What could have motivated you to kill someone you were supposed to love. Your best friend. You were that to her? What was she to you?”
Mary’s face was cold as ice. “An insurgent! Nothing more. She chose to fight against the Empire, and she got what she deserved.”
“So, not one bit of regret? Not one bit of remorse for killing someone who was a dear friend?”
She shook her head. “Nope. I did what had to be done. You would have done the same in my place. After all, you abandoned your people to serve the Empire.”
“The Hell I did!” Rage was all over his voice. “The hell I did! I joined to help my people. I knew that we couldn’t rise up. Not then. We had to wait. I was going to do what I could to make life better. That’s why the rest of my unit followed me. But I stood by my people to the very end. I made life better for Sara too. I loved her. She was the entire world to me. And now, she’s gone. Because of you!” He drew his blade, walking forward. “And for that, you must die!”
“En garde, Franc!” Mary shouted, charging at him. Their blades met, and a battle between two of the greatest swordsmen of all time began.
Wolf was finally at the palace. It wasn’t hard. Her teleportation talent had done much for her. It was so much like the White Palace that it was eerie. She saw Deathstroke and Mary, fighting it out. That wasn’t a battle for her to interfere with. She knew this. The grounds were destroyed, but had once been immaculate. There was a huge marble courtyard in front of her, with a pathway leading into the palace. She started to run down it, when someone appeared on the path in front of her. It was Amelia.
“The Wolf! I’ve finally found you!” The girl was in shambles, wearing a stolen military uniform. She had come in among the soldiers. It was…impressive.
She hit the switch to lift up the back section of the mask, making it able to be removed. She took it off, lowering the cloth that covered the base of her face.
“It’s good to see you again, Amelie.”
The girl was in shock. “You’re Quinn! Emily’s friend! You’ve been the Wolf this whole time?!”
She nodded. “Yup. Emily didn’t know until recently. She’s with us. I was hoping that you would be okay. We didn’t know what happened to you when we took Ottawa.”
The girl didn’t seem to hear a word she said. “Why?! Why would you fight the Empire? What did the Empire do to you?!” There was something off about this interaction. Like she wasn’t all there.
“It’s a long story, Amelie.”
“Where’s Doppelganger! I know he’s with you! He was there, when you attacked the city! Where is he?!” She pulled a gun out from behind her. “Tell me where he is or I’ll shoot!”
She’s totally lost it. She focused her energy, changing in front of her. The girl was almost crying as she became Doppelganger once more.
“Hey you,” he greeted.
“Gabe! You’re here! Are you the Wolf’s double or something?!”
He smiled at her. “Yup. For whenever she has to die or something, she had me. I’ve been very useful to her.”
The girl dropped the gun, running over. “Gabe! I’ve found you!” She ran into his arms, madly kissing him. “I love you! I’ll always love you! You’re everything to me!” Her voice was getting even more unhinged.
“I love you too, Amelie. That’s why I’m going to do something for you. I’m going to give you the greatest gift that I could.”
He closed his eyes. When they opened again, they were glowing blue. “I want you to forget about me. Forget you ever met me. To remember that all you had were good memories of your family, and that you love them.”
“No! No, please don’t…” There was a confused look on her face. Then, there was a calm and disoriented look. “Oh, what happened? Where am I?”
Since he changed his uniform to that of a soldier, he took on that demeanor. “Oh, ma’am, thank god! You have to get out of here! Your brother tried to seize the throne! He failed, and now his forces are fighting it out with the new Empress’. I’m going to meet up with our forces inside.” He pointed toward a clear path that she had just taken. “Take that route and head to where the soldiers in red uniforms are. They are the Red Guard. They’re loyal to the Empress. Say that you are Amelia Beckett and that you are looking for Sir Sebastian Descartes. He’ll get you out of here!”
The girl nodded, looking worried. “Alright. Thank you!” She started to run, then stopping. “Can I get your name, soldier?”
“The name’s Gabriel, ma’am! Sergeant Gabriel Sinclair.” He saluted.
“A pleasure to meet you, Gabriel.” She continued to run.
Changing back to the Wolf, she smiled beneath the mask. Now she can move forward with her life.
She got inside of the palace. The main entry hall was more than a little eerie, deserted and dark. That’s when she saw it. Two glowing eyes. Wolf stepped back, seeing Particles flowing out of this creature.
“Subject Zero, I’ve been waiting for you!” It had a cold and raspy voice.
“Who are you?”
“I am the last of the Knights of the Crown. I can feel that the others are dead. My name…I don’t know. They called me, Subject 451. I know who you are. I was there.” They were staying in the dark. Only their eyes could be made out. “To be here again. It is an honor.”
“I’m sorry, Subject. I don’t remember you.”
“That’s okay. It doesn’t matter anyway.” It finally came into the light. This Subject was made before Subject Zero had been discovered. The flesh was mutated, with crystals growing out of it. Even the eyes had a crystalline appearance. “I have come home, creator. I have come back to you at last.”
Until next time, quote,
“Do you remember the question that got the creators to attack us, Tali’Zorah? Does this unit have a soul?” -Legion, Mass Effect 3