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Thread: Apotheosis

  1. #1
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    Default Apotheosis

    Old thread was closed. Reason being that Zephyr Flare explained it was actually against the rules to have all the opening chapters bundled together. So, if you'd like to repost any of your origional comments here from the old thread, you're welcome to do so without facing any harm from the moderators.

    I'd also like to apologise to anyone who has been reading this from the old thread; this is simply a result of my own ignorance, and I greatly apologise for any inconvenience this shift might have caused.

    I guess I better make this clear right now, to save me some hassle.

    This story isn't for people who get offended easily.
    -Profane language.
    -Innuendo.
    -Minor drug themes.
    -Violence.
    -Likely racist/blasphemous comments.
    -Other things little children don't like.

    So don't read this if you plan on whining, and if you read it and whine anyway, I'm going to tell you in advance to be quiet, you were warned, that's that. Thanks.

    A review would probably make me pleased. We all like reviews. I like cake too, but a review would probably be better for the time being. Thanks for all readers and reviewers alike.

    And of course, with the modifications to the thread, I'm now enabled to make a little contents table for each chapter.
    (Each link will open in a new window).

    ~Prologue
    ~Chapter 001: Welcome to the Metropolis.
    ~Chapter 002: Kill Game.
    ~Chapter 003: Peppered Steak.
    ~Chapter 004: Doesn’t get any better than this.
    ~Chapter 005: The beginning of a truth.
    ~Chapter 006: Altercation.
    ~Chapter 007: The 99th Floor.
    ~Chapter 008: Caring is creepy.
    ~Chapter 009: (The girl that had) Stockholm syndrome I.
    ~Chapter 010: Vendettas.
    ~Chapter 011: High Charity. ~ High Charity Pt. II
    ~Chapter 012: Be just or be dead.
    ~Chapter 013: Black Holes and the Revelation of things to come. ~ Black Holes and the Revelation of things to come Pt. II
    ~Chapter 014: The secrets of Solar and the silent earth. ~ The secrets of Solar and the silent earth Pt. II
    ~Chapter 015: Set the world on fire.

    ~Josh
    ______________________________________

    Apotheosis


    Prologue

    Filtering through the barely lit window, the light of the moon shone across Reunion. It was just after 5am, and the music club had been shut for an hour. Outside, Solar remained as full of life as it did at any other time. It was the city that never slept, and there was always something going on, all night gambling, strip bars, seedy taverns, clubs. If after dark fun was what a tourist or resident of Solar wanted, they had never been in a better place. Police influence was minimal, and crime influence was seconded only to the influence of the Planetists.

    The Planetists were the leading religious faction of the world. They barely had any competition. For centuries there had been undeniable proof of their belief. Every decade a Guardian Angel would appear within the city of Solar and expect gifts and sacrifice, for bestowing the planet of Charity unto the human race. It came to be that the Planetists ruled Charity, and that Solar was dubbed the Holy City. For it was there that the angels appeared. People came from thousands of miles away to witness the angels, and left feeling a better person within themselves. The turn of the decade was less than one month away. And the guardian angel that would appear was set to change the world of Charity forever.

    Sage sat in his chair, looking out over the neon glow. His pipe smoked lightly, and the room held a lingering smell of sweet tobacco. His thoughts were of thought, and he was rarely seen outside of Reunion. His world was the music club, and the two small rooms above it that he called his home. A small window looking over all of Solar, a kettle placed upon a stove, a small bathroom, the age old rocking chair Sage loved dearly, and a bed, draped with crimson sheets, and fashioned out of the finest Redwood. His history stretched nine centuries, and yet was clouded in mystery. Nobody knew of who Sage was, or how he had managed to live up until he was Nine Hundred and Twenty Three. His smile was that of knowledge, and his eyes burned with a resolve of justice. His knowledge extended past the known cosmos, as did his intelligence. He was the bright star on a stormy night, and the guiding light to Reach.

    Reach sat around a large table underneath reunion. Their headquarters were a small room, which led off to seven separate rooms. They were a group of Mercenaries, who took missions that only their leader deemed justified under her own morality. Beatrix, the merciless assassin, with her perfectly balanced sword, Eve, and her group of Mercenaries. They were the scourge of many, and the saviour of few, but Reach did what they were asked flawlessly, and were renowned throughout the deepest Underground sects of Solar.

    The sound of ringing broke the awkward silence around the table. Beatrix reached into her pocket and pulled out a small, metallic object, and flipped up the cover, before bringing the phone to her ear.

    “What?”

    “I have a request of you, this is Reach is it not?”

    “Yes, this is Beatrix. Who is calling, what is the pay, and what is the mission?”

    “Who this is, is not important. The pay is Sixty Million, and the mission is to find and eradicate Leonardo Ronston, from the Red Light District downtown.”

    Beatrix paused for a moment, Sixty Million? Absurd!

    “How can I be sure I’ll be getting the payment?”

    “Because it is right outside your door.”

    Beatrix narrowed her eyes and looked at the trapdoor at the top of the staircase leading into the backroom of the bar in Reunion. Sure enough, a faint sound could be heard. She leapt up, still clutching the phone to her ear and jumped to the top of the stairs, opening the trapdoor and looking around to see who it was that had been there. A black briefcase was left to the left of the trapdoor.

    “Do we have a deal, Beatrix?”

    “Yes, yes we do.”

    Beatrix closed the lid of the phone and returned it into her pocket, before pulling the briefcase over. She slid back down the staircase, closing the trapdoor behind her, and placed the case onto the table. Opening it up revealed that there was indeed, cash, plenty of it, all unmarked, One Hundred Solar Bills. The other members of Reach looked at her and then back to the money they were witnessing.

    “We’re to find and eliminate Leonardo Ronston. We’ll go now. I don’t want to upset our client, especially since they seem to know where we live. Let’s go.”

    End prologue.
    Last edited by PLANES CURE TOWERS; 22nd April 2008 at 5:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Chapter 001: Welcome to the Metropolis

    Solar was wide awake, even in the early hours of the morning. The traffic never ceased. Downtown Solar was about an hour from the Reach Headquarters on the train system that interlocked the city, and as Reach headed to the station, the early morning twilight began to creep across the sky.

    At the Northern Central station, several homeless people lay underneath cardboard boxes, and graffiti lined the walls. There was a distinct smell of urine in the air, as there was with most enclosed areas within Solar. Red bricks, eroding with age, lined the entrance of the station, and a titanic clock was the ceiling. It was a majestic sight, even if the atmosphere was that to be questioned. The clock was fashioned out of glass, and was extremely well kept. Each of the central stations contained one of these clocks, a minor pride and joy of the Solar architect division. Behind the glass of the clock face were several lights, positioned at each of the hour points.

    Reach entered the station, stirring several of the sleeping homeless people. The electronic time display stated that it would be another seven minutes, and the clock read that it was just after 5:20. The artificial lighting of the station beamed down and lit up the entire group.

    At the front was Beatrix. Her brown hair flowed behind her as she walked. She smiled lightly at the stares from the people within the station. Her black leather suit clearly identified her slim figure. Flicking her hair back she looked up towards the large clock on the ceiling, the light from behind it catching her deep hazel eyes and making them sparkle lightly, almost dancing. Upon her waist was a decorated leather hilt, sticking out from a black sheath. She flipped her hair back and came to a halt, a few feet away from the edge of the tracks.

    To the left of Beatrix, was a young girl, with short brown hair and fair skin. She looked around the station and sighed at the amount of homeless people stood looking at her. She shook her head and walked over beside Beatrix. She was Mikoto, an adept in oriental sword art and an aspiring musician. She looked younger than she actually was, sixteen, and stood only 5 foot 5 inches tall. She wore a midnight Blue tank top, which exposed a small tattoo of strange patterns on her arm, and black jeans. Fastened to her back was a curved sheath, or saya, which housed a medium sized Katana. It was evident from the day Mikoto received her sword it was strange, half of it was missing, and it glowed with a blue aura whenever she held it in her hands. Fastened around her neck was a small gold pendant, with the letters “BG” engraved upon it and a small lock without a key. She closed her deep green eyes and looked to the floor, smiling at the thought of the amount of money Beatrix had placed on the table earlier.

    “Damn Boss, you look fine in that outfit.”

    “This is the closest you’ll get to seeing me naked Gala; go to a strip club or something.”

    Beatrix sighed and smirked a little at the remark from the seventeen year old Gala. He laughed to himself and walked over to a bench, parking himself on it and looking around the station. The artificial lighting beamed down as he looked towards the electronic timer, the train wasn’t due for another three minutes. The light shone across his styled blonde hair and illuminated his sky blue eyes. His jeans and white jacket were immaculate, and on either side of his waist were two silver guns, each engraved with his name. Gala sighed and closed his eyes, awaiting the roar of the train entering the station.

    Edge entered the station, a little ways behind the rest of Reach. He grunted at Gala’s attempt to admire Beatrix and walked away from the group. Standing on the edge of the platform, underneath the light, his features were visible. His face was one full of age. Black sunglasses that not even the bright station lights could pierce through were placed comfortably over his eyes, and on his body, a black overcoat, and black trousers. Atop his head was a black hat, which clashed with his straight black hair. The only thing upon him that wasn’t black was the skin that was visible through all of the clothing. Edge shook his head at the homeless people, who were by now transfixed upon the strange group of people entering the station at such an early hour.

    The station was filled with the rustling of papers as Reach stood in an awkward silence waiting for the train. The electronic timer indicated it was due, yet there was no sign or sound of it coming. Mikoto began pacing around, growing restless. She wasn’t one who enjoyed sitting around, and always needed to be doing something. She stopped as the tracks began to rumble and the sound of the train nearing the station began to grow louder. Reach edged towards the end of the platform, and stood waiting. The train burst out of the tunnel that led into the station and slowed to a halt.

    Several of the carriages were covered in graffiti and a lot of the train seemed like it hadn’t been washed for nigh on twenty years. What white colour there was left had now turned into a musky grey, and gave a sense of foreboding to Reach as the doors opened. The gangway within the train was relatively clean, a few newspapers were strewn about, but it was otherwise empty. The windows were barely transparent, due to the amount of grime, and the lights were yellowed. Reach made deal with what was a common event in Solar, and entered the carriage. Outside, the electronic display read that the train was due to leave in 3 minutes.

    Edge sat opposite Beatrix and smiled weakly at her, before narrowing his eyes behind his black sunglasses and asking the question that had been burning in his mind ever since Beatrix had announced the latest mission.

    “Why did you accept this mission?”

    “Edge… you aren’t going to let your views get in the way again I hope. The reason is because I know of whom we are supposed to kill. Leonardo Ronston is one of the richest drug and women traffickers in the Red Light District. Ask Gala, I’m sure he knows all about him.”

    “Beatrix, you know I trust your judgement, however, I cannot say that this mission is all that… worthy. However, so long as I am getting paid, I won’t hassle you.”

    Beatrix smiled and looked up at him, “Of course you will Edge, and this is a team isn’t it? We all get an equal share of the payment. One thing worries me though, and that is how our unidentified client knows of the location of Reach.”

    “Some things are better left unknown Beatrix.”

    Edge got up and walked off, staring out of a barely see-through window. Beatrix admired him for the way he stood up for what he believed in, yet remained secluded and silent at the same time. Edge was a Convict, and had been framed for a crime he didn’t commit. He had been placed under bounty several years ago by The Planetists for the murder of their leading scientist, and had been on the run for two years before Reach caught him, and chose to believe his side of the story. He was now a full fledged mercenary, working under command of Beatrix and member of Reach. It was plain to tell he yearned for his innocence and right to freedom back, however reclusive he decided to keep himself.

    The speakers lining the ceiling of the train carriage crackled into life as the voice of the driver sounded through. He seemed old and frail, judging from his voice, and announced the train to be leaving, and that the next stop was Downtown Solar. Beatrix shuffled about in the seat until she felt comfortable, and closed her eyes, drifting off into a dreamless sleep. It would be another hour before the train arrived downtown, and she had been awake all night.

    The train picked up speed and entered the underground network of Solar. A large electronic map on one of the windowless walls of the carriage indicated where the train was within the system. A small, red blinking light indicated the train, which moved through a tremendous network of train tracks. The display was labyrinth like. Mikoto stood looking at it, as she always did when she rode the train network of Solar. She had seen the map hundreds of times, yet never grew tired of looking at the enormous infrastructure. The train network was made up of a mainline that went to the five main areas of Solar, the north, south, east, west and downtown districts. Within these districts, a further train line ran connecting key areas within them to one another. Each district was roughly two hundred square miles in size, and the total size of Solar was well over one thousand square miles. It was the second of the great cities of Charity, yet it paled in comparison to the amazing size of High Charity, which was the size of the continent it was named after. Mikoto remembered hearing that it would take a little over six years to traverse the entire rail network of Solar on foot, a fact that she found incredible.

    As Mikoto watched the blinking red light make its way from the Main station of the Northern District, she began to wonder what High Charity was like. She had read about it in the Solar Central Newspaper, and had heard of the palace of lords, in which the world government resided, yet had never set foot on the Continent of High Charity, let alone the mega polis that it was. She sighed at the thoughts of leaving Solar one day and continued to navigate the train routes. They were all underground, save for the main stations, and the main network was complimented with an eight lane highway, which stretched out across the Zodiac continent, and around the city of Solar.

    At the end of the carriage, Gala sat alone, reading a magazine he bought each week, even if it killed him. ‘Queens’ was the name of the greatest pornography magazine to ever leave the printing houses in the Red Light District. It contained everything from readers’ ratings of prostitutes down to the latest headlines. The magazine was critically acclaimed not only as an adult entertainment source, but also as a fantastic source of information on world events, and as such was the best selling magazine throughout the city of Solar. Gala was devastated at the news of the latest target of Reach, ‘Queens’ magazine was published by a company Leonardo Ronston owned. He sat, and placed a happy face, as he turned the page to a picture of a blonde woman wearing nothing but a small fluffy scarf. He was only seventeen, but Gala was terrible for womanizing.

    ***
    Beatrix opened her eyes after being shaken a few times by Mikoto. She looked around, forgetting where she was, and then back at the smiling face of the 16 year old girl standing over her.

    “We’re here Beatrix, let’s go.”

    Beatrix flicked her hair back as she stood, smiled at Mikoto and walked off of the train and into the central station of Solar.

    End chapter 001.
    Last edited by Zephyr Flare; 21st July 2006 at 12:24 AM.

  3. #3
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    Chapter 002: Kill Game.

    A light rain had picked up and the morning sun had made it’s first appearance of the day, creeping over the horizon and illuminating the eastern face of Solar with it’s Orange glow. The clock that made up the majority of the ceiling of the station stated it was just after 6:30 in the morning. The station was already full with commuters, and several of the stores within the station were opening up for the day. Reach walked out of the main exit and out to the street outside.

    Gala looked up into the sky, feeling the light rain wash against his face. He closed his eyes and yawned, stretching his arms into the air. He felt a brief movement behind him, and saw a thin man in a brown coat run off, clutching his “Queens” magazine in his hand.

    “Damn pickpockets…”

    He stood and kicked the ground, thanking the train ride for allowing him to read the magazine from cover to cover. Edge walked up and stood next to Gala, turning his head in his direction slightly.

    “Gala… you’re getting soft, since when did you let people get away with stealing?”

    “Eh… I’m tired, and I’ve read it anyway. So sod it, not like it matters.”

    “Stealing isn’t right though Gala, no matter who it is from, or why it is done.”

    “Edge, I’ll thank you for not saying that again, I had to live stolen bread and water for two years after my parents died. People do steal for reasons sometimes. It’s all they can do…”

    Edge nodded and walked over to a large map, which Beatrix had been looking at for some time. Gala shook his head at the twenty nine year old edge, and looked around, a blonde haired woman catching his attention. He traced her figure down, sublime, as many women of the downtown district were. He smirked and continued scanning the area, making the most of the time he had downtown.

    “Have you figured out the best way to get there yet then?”

    Beatrix jumped at the sound of Edge’s voice, and broke out of the trance like state of looking at the downtown map. It was huge, showing all of the streets of the district, along with a colour code showing whether they were a main road, highway, or a simple street.

    “I think so; the Red light district isn’t that far by foot, about three miles. I say if we go through the main street until we reach this club here, and then follow this road west, we’ll be there in the quickest time possible.”

    Edge followed where Beatrix was mentioning and nodded in agreement. Beatrix gave a weak smile before turning around, and shaking her hair slightly. She walked across the road when the traffic stopped, as the rest of Reach followed. Mikoto was always in awe at the size of the Downtown district. A large white building stuck out in the middle of it all, the Planetist main Headquarters. The building stretched further into the sky than any other building in the city of Solar, and housed everything from the government house of the city, to the military base. Visitors were allowed to visit the central floor of the building, however the floors above and below ground level were strictly prohibited. Conspiracy theorists had, upon several occasions, decided that below the building was a huge complex of military structures, with more fire power than even the grand military of High Charity.

    Mikoto came out of her thought as an ambulance raced down the street with its sirens blaring. She shook her hair, and allowed the light raindrops to fall upon her face. As Reach continued walking, the rain seemed to quicken, and gradually became heavier. The skies above turned a grey shade and the morning sunlight slowly faded, leaving the city under a tone of grey shades.

    Reach eventually arrived at the club Beatrix had pinpointed on the map. Gala perked up as he saw what was above the entrance. Three enormous ‘X’ letters were glowing vividly with posters of strippers lining the entrance. Below the three X’s was a smaller sign, stating “Ronston Strip Club.” Edge quickly walked over to Beatrix, before being joined by Gala and Mikoto.

    “It seems we’re in the vicinity of what he controls.”

    “Yeah. Gala, you want to go inside and ask about the owner, Mr. Ronston?”

    Gala grinned; Beatrix always used him for things like this. He winked at her and walked over to the entrance. One of the posters read out that it was a 24 hour club, as many within the area were. The two large doors slid open, revealing a crimson carpeted entrance hall. The walls were lined with small, shell shaped lights, emitting a gentle pink glow. The ceiling heralded a painting portraying a mass of female bodies, all naked and in some way linked to one another. Several framed issues of the “Queens” magazine were along the right hand wall. The 1st issue, with a girl dressed in a white cat costume and the name “Katherine” across the bottom, the 50th issue was next to it, with a front cover not of a woman, but of a large explosion. No headline was present, but a small plaque at the bottom, upon closer inspection, stated that it was the only issue of Queens to have been published without a woman on the cover.

    Gala continued down the corridor, which seemed to go on for ages, until he finally reached a doorway which heralded a sign saying ‘reception’ above it. He entered the foyer, a faint ambience dancing around on the air. A woman dressed in a black dress was at the desk. As Gala approached her features came into view, she was young, with brown hair that grew down to her shoulders, her face was young and well kept, and her figure, was something that especially caught Gala’s eye.
    “Hello, and welcome to Ronston’s. How may I help a fine man like you?”

    The way in which she spoke was seductive, and her body language was nothing short of arousing for Gala. As she spoke she leaned over the desk, placing her hands under her chin, and looking directly into the eyes of Gala.

    “Um… hello, I’m here to inquire about the manager and owner, unfortunately. Is he around?”

    “You’d be the first person to come in here asking for a man… he’s here. I’ll call him through for you. Can you give me five minutes?”

    This is too easy… “Yeah sure I can, take your time.”

    The woman sat up and walked through a lace curtain behind the desk, walking in such a way that all parts of her body seemed to move, in perfect rhythm. Gala stared at the lace curtains, gently swaying from side to side, for a brief moment, before pulling out a small phone from his pocket and typing in the number to Beatrix’ phone. As the phone rang, several cheers came from a doorway to the left of the desk, before the room returned to the peaceful ambience. The phone was eventually answered, and Gala could hear from the receiver, that outside, the rain had taken a turn for the worse.

    “Hello Gala, is he there?”

    “He is boss; you guys want to come in?”

    “We’d love to Gala, really we would, but it seems we can’t, the place has been closed. The streets out here are flooding, this rain is pathetic.”

    “Are you for real? Then what the hell am I supposed to do?”

    “Finish the mission yourself; you can have 90% of the pay. Kill Leonardo Ronston, and then find a way out of there before his men find and kill you.”

    Fuck she think I am? “Are you serious?”

    “Do it Gala, that’s an order. Beatrix out.”

    The phone went dead, as Gala slowly removed it from his ear and wondering how the hell he was going to kill this man, who he treated as some form of idol, himself. He replaced the phone and looked down at the carpet. The crimson and black patterns were hypnotic, several spirals forming one large spiralling shape after the other. He looked up as he felt himself get dizzy, and took out one of his two Silver pistols.

    They were handcrafted from pure silver, and bore an engraving of his name upon their sides. The barrel held 16 rounds and fired 2 shots per pull of the trigger. The handle contained several electronic security devices, which executed if anyone but Gala held the gun in the action position. Fingerprint encoding ran across the trigger, and if the prints weren’t recognized, the gun locked itself down, before releasing a toxic gas, that eroded the lungs of whoever was handling it. The gun was as dangerous to anyone but Gala both at gunpoint and if the gun was in their hands.

    He checked the barrel, fully stocked. He quickly replaced it into it’s holster as footsteps came from behind the lace curtain. The woman that had been at the reception entered through the curtain once more, and resumed sitting down in her seat behind the desk. She looked up at Gala and sighed,

    “He’s down there, just go through, he’s too fat and lazy to come up here.”

    She motioned to the side of the desk, and turned away from Gala, pulling out a nail file as she did so, and entered a world of her own. Gala was taken slightly aback by the lack of security Leonardo had with him, but then remembered nobody would dare kill the man behind Queens’s magazine. He sighed, feeling the pistols in his pockets, and walked behind the desk and through the lace curtain.

    Before him, a purple neon glow led the way down a staircase. The colour of the floor was uncertain, as the lighting created an eerie darkness. As Gala neared the bottom, voices and laughter could be heard, gaining volume as he proceeded downwards. Another lace curtain came into view as the voices came into full hearing distance. Gala picked up speed as the lights allowed more vision the closer to the bottom he got. He stood before the lace curtain, and slowly opened it up, stepping into a smoke filled room.

    “Ah, you must be the kid that wanted to see me, what is it my boy?”

    A round, obese man was sat opposite the doorway, a cigar sticking out of his mouth. His hair was greying brown and combed backwards, and over his torso was a black pinstripe suit, complete with a crimson tie and black velvet shirt. Behind him were two women dressed in outfits exposing areas of their body Gala didn’t even know existed. One was holding a tray of drinks, and the other a tray of cigars. Sat on the table around him were several men, all threatening in their own unique way. They all glared at gala, in contrast to the huge grin spread across Leonardo’s face.

    “Yes, you’re Mr. Ronston, aren’t you?”

    “That’s right my boy! Richest guy in town! Well, that isn’t a Planetist leader of course! Gyahahah! How may I be of service?”

    Gala looked around the room, behind him was the staircase, and to his left was a doorway. He was aware he was underground, the staircase was long enough to warrant that. He felt the guns rub against his legs, and began sweating slightly, realising he had no idea of how he was going to escape. The question Leonardo had asked rang in his ears, and he took a moment to think of what to say.

    “I have a message, from who I’ve got no idea, but I’ve been asked to send you it nonetheless.”

    “Well my boy, what is this message? As you can see, ha-ha, I’m a busy man!”

    Leonardo walked around the room towards the door on the left hand side, under the cold stare of the men sat around the table. He hadn’t noticed until now that each of the men was abnormally abundant in muscle mass, and all had distinct blonde, spiky hair. He sighed, and reached into his jacket, placing his hand on the gun handle,

    “The message is…” I can’t believe I’m about to kill this guy… damn it! “The message is that you need to be killed.”

    As the word ‘killed’ left his lips, Gala took out his guns and brought them up to level with Leonardo Ronston’s head, before pulling the triggers and sending four bullets searing through the air. The sound that erupted was deafening and enveloped the room, causing the men around the table to duck down and the two women to drop what they were carrying and run to the opposite side of the room.

    Gala looked towards Leonardo, the four bullets had made direct contact with and ripped through his skull, leaving a bloody mess across his clothes and body. As Leonardo collapsed to the floor, much to the disbelief of the men around the table, Gala pulled open the door and bolted through, replacing his guns into their holsters.

    As he exploded down the corridor, Gala heard shouts from the room he had just left, and the sound of footsteps entering the corridor he was running along. He had no idea as to where it led, all he knew is that he couldn’t face up to the challenge of eight or nine men, each one as muscled as the other. He gritted his teeth and pushed onwards.

    A green light erupted from behind him and began to take over the entire corridor, a tremendous group of roars followed and the sound of steps began drawing extremely close to Gala, causing him to press on, increasing his running speed as much as he could.

    With the green light illuminating the corridor, a staircase came into view, less than a hundred and fifty yards from where Gala was. He reached the staircase and began climbing them as fast as his legs would allow, taking some stairs as much as five at a time. As he climbed he pulled black his sleeve, revealing a small watch with several buttons on it. He pressed in one of them, causing a small green light to blink, and pulled his sleeve back to its original position. He felt a little more secure, knowing he had activated the Reach GPS system, now the rest of the team would know where he was, or at least where he was going.

    The feeling of safety was shattered as he felt something rip at his leg and then fall away once more. He wanted to turn and look what those men had changed into, but decided against it in the favour of speed. The stairs seemed to be going on forever, the lights on the sides of them bearing extreme resemblance to those on the other staircase he had descended only a few minutes earlier.

    He began to feel a slight pain in his legs as he continued his way up the stairs, his body was becoming oxygen starved. Damn it, I won’t be able to keep this speed up much longer… Gala felt another grab at his ankles and a loud snarl, and a thought struck him, he almost slapped himself for not doing what he planned before hand.

    He reached for his guns, and took them out of his pockets. He grinned slightly and spun around, falling to a seat on one of the steps, before shooting straight down the staircase. He heard several howls of pain and emptied the barrels of both guns. He quickly replaced them and stood up once more, resuming his sprint up the stairs, and praying that he was near the end of the climb.

    He slowed down slightly, feeling a little safer, in the knowledge that he had just shot the hell out of whatever it was pursuing him. Eventually, after another few minutes had passed, he reached level ground, which held a doorway, similar to the one he had entered this corridor and staircase from. He opened it up and stepped out of the corridor, finding himself outside, atop the roof of a building. The rain came down in torrents, drenching him almost instantaneously.

    Gala walked over to the edge of the building, and looked down to the streets below. Sure enough, they were almost like a river. In such a short time the rain had increased enough to turn the mighty sewers of Solar into a waste. He shook his head violently, allowing some of the water to escape from his hair, before sitting down on the edge of the rooftop, and allowing the rain to fall upon him, as he rested his legs, which were burning from the extreme exercise they had just partaken in.

    He closed his eyes as the water continued to stream down his face, as Gala wondered where the rest of Reach had gotten to. The GPS system had been running for long enough to enable them to locate where he was by now. He guessed the rain had stopped the group from accessing him easily, especially considering his location. As he felt the rain, it seemed as though something else was in an instant of his face. Opening his eyes, he was confronted with a pair of large yellow eyes. He fell back in shock, and began falling from atop the building he was perched upon.

    End of Chapter 002.
    Last edited by Zephyr Flare; 21st July 2006 at 12:24 AM.

  4. #4
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    Chapter 003: Peppered Steak

    Gala attempted to grab onto the roof of the building, but found himself plummeting to the river below. Above, through the rain, Gala could make out one of the creatures that had been chasing him jump off the building and fall downwards directly towards where he was. The building, however high it was, seemed to go on forever and the descent never ceased as Gala pulled out his guns and loaded them whilst plummeting downwards. The guns were both quickly loaded and Gala took aim at the creature that was now only a few feet above him.

    The sound of Bullets erupting from both of the guns pierced the air and a split second later, a screech of pain from the green creature. The four bullets Gala had fired had all hit their target in the chest, causing blood to explode out of the creature’s body and join in the descent towards the planet. Gala quickly placed both of the guns back into their holsters and spun around, only to see that the ground was not a river at all, and had just looked like water from the top of the building.

    As the ground came into clear view, Gala closed his eyes, and awaited the impending doom that awaited him upon impact. He expected thoughts of his life to begin rushing through his head, however none came, and all he saw within his minds eye was nothingness. He felt a sudden jolt, yet didn’t open his eyes and assumed it to be the creature colliding with him as they fell.

    The feeling of moving downwards escaped him, and Gala felt as if he were moving with the winds. He opened his eyes to see the arm of someone around his middle. He traced the arm to the head of what appeared to be a girl, and saw Mikoto, a look of determination in her eyes, clinging to a rope.

    “What the hell?”

    “Aww don’t worry Gala, you blacked out, a little fall was all it was, and we’ll be on solid ground soon enough.”

    Mikoto grinned, a playful look of sarcasm in her eyes, contrasting to the determination from a few minor seconds before. Gala sighed and shook his head, knowing that Reach was going to mock him for quite some time for blacking out and being scared of falling from a building, when he knew that the GPS was activated. He looked at the streets below, rushing by as he and Mikoto swung around the building on a large rope.

    “Uhh… Mikoto, what’s this thing attached to?”

    “Oh, just one of the rooms, we’re almost back to where we started.”

    Sure enough, a few moments later, Mikoto swung into a large, well-lit room of the building, in which the rest of Reach stood, looking towards Gala. He and Mikoto both stood up after a landing graceful enough to win the Olympics ten times over.

    “Did you kill him then?”

    The voice was that of Beatrix.

    “Yeah, he’s dead, something gave chase, but I killed three of them on my way up to the roof and one of them just as I was falling. I get Ninety percent of the pay right?”

    Beatrix smirked and walked towards the door, flicking a little of the rainwater left in her hair to the floor and motioned for the rest of Reach to follow.

    “Yeah, you get Ninety percent; now let’s go see what it was chasing you.”

    As he left the room, Gala realised how wet his clothes were. He looked out of the window of the room at the rain outside. It was as if a grey sheet had enveloped the entire city, the rain was torrential. He shook his head and followed the rest of the group along a small corridor lined with apartment doors and into a stairwell. The faint smell of cabbage gave the air a distinct aroma that set apartment blocks from any other building. The walls of the stairwell were painted yellow, and were rotting in several areas, mostly closest to where wall met ceiling and floor.

    “Don’t I get any thanks for saving you from falling then Gala? I risked my life with that rope too you know.”

    “Sorry Mikoto, I owe you a lot for that, but I have one other thing to ask. Don’t tell the others about me… you know… fainting.”

    Mikoto grinned and winked at Gala, and continued her descent down the staircase. Gala shook his head and smiled, Mikoto stuck to her word in all situations, the weight of the rest of the group taking the piss was one he didn’t need to bear any longer. He continued walking down the stairs, followed closely by Edge, who had not said anything since Gala had rejoined the group, but had merely gave a nod of recognition towards Gala at the news of Leonardo Ronston’s death.

    The streets outside were less busy than usual, due to the heavy rain, but a small crowd indicated where the creature had landed. Reach walked over and struggled through the growing crowds. On the ground in front of them, a reptilian-looking creature lay motionless. Turquoise scaled covered all of the creature’s body. Its face looked like that of a wolf crossed with an iguana. Yet the creature was an arthropod, although the fashion of which it’s hands and feet were indicated it used all four in order to walk. The crowd around the creature talked in a hushed tone, asking one another varying questions about what the creature was and where it had came from.

    “Is this what attacked you Gala?”

    “Yeah it is Edge… there were five of them; I’ll tell you all about it when we get back to Reunion.”

    Beatrix rolled her eyes and walked away from the creature. She glanced down the street towards the club gala had just assassinated Leonardo Ronston within, and caught the sound of police and ambulance sirens upon the air. She turned to the rest of the group and snapped her fingers, instantly grabbing their attention.

    “We’re leaving.”

    Mikoto and Gala both gave a confused look towards the sudden serious undertone of Beatrix, and followed her as she advanced down the street. Edge simply shrugged and also began to follow.

    Beatrix walked briskly along, kicking up water as her feet connected with the drenched floor. The rain had made her hair fall down onto her face, and she was struggling to keep it out of her eyes. Mikoto cursed every now and then, both at the rain for exposing her chest through her thin vest, and at herself for not wearing a coat. Gala forgot all about what had happened at the club and with the lizard men that had given chase during his less than gallant escape, and focused on Beatrix. The rain had caused the leather to tighten against her skin, revealing more of her perfect figure than ever before. Edge walked along behind the rest of the group, with his eyes narrowed, and his hat tilted so that his face was completely covered from the rain. While his clothes were soaked through, within them, Edge remained warm and dry. A little ways ahead, the train station had come into view.

    As Reach entered the train station, Beatrix and Mikoto both shook their heads, shaking droplets of water out of their hair. All of the group were soaking wet, and the floor of the train station had become slippery due to the amount of people walking across it. The clock that was the ceiling still glowed with the blue lighting, and read out that the time was just after 8 A.M. The skies were the shade of grey that they had been two hours ago. Gala looked around the station, the train headed for the Northern district was due in less than two minutes. Mikoto smiled at the timing, it was impeccable.

    “Hey, Gala! Gala!”

    Gala turned around to the location of the voice and his heart sank, running towards him was Pepper. She wasn’t very tall, around 5’4”, and her black hair came down to her shoulders. She was clutching onto a brown paper back, held close to her chest. Underneath her light brown jacket was a cream coloured blouse, and a matching pair of jeans. He blue eyes caught the neon glow of the clock on the ceiling and sparkled as she walked towards Gala, with a huge grin spread across her face.

    “Great… Perfect even. Mikoto… help.”

    Mikoto laughed at Gala and shook her head, walking away from what was bound to become a scene. Gala sighed, and felt the remains of his heart and stomach crash into the floor; he was tired and really couldn’t be bothered with an obsessive girl talking to him non-stop.

    “Hello Pepper.”

    “Gala, where have you been? I’ve been shopping! See? I bought, some fruit, and some tea, and some biscuits, and, oh look I have this for you!”

    Pepper reached into the brown paper bag and pulled out an apple. Gala went to speak but found the shiny red fruit being forced into his mouth, much to the happiness of Pepper. He narrowed his eyes and took the apple out of his mouth, he tried speaking again but was cut off,

    “By the way, are you headed back to Reunion? You don’t mind me sitting with you on the train do you? You don’t? That’s great! You’re so sweet Gala!”

    Pepper took the bag into one hand and placed her arm around Gala, squeezing him so he could barely breathe. She didn’t even give me time to answer… Once Pepper had released Gala from the lung-destroying hug, she took his hand into her and paraded towards the train, dragging Gala behind her. As the two neared the platform edge, the ever familiar rumble of an approaching train sounded throughout the station, and a few moments later, a silver train came rushing out from the right hand tunnel.

    “Wow, that looks… different.”

    Beatrix watched as the train came to a stop, slightly confused. The train was different to all the other trains, and was immaculately clean. The station speaker sounded, informing the passengers the train was due to leave for the northern central station in five minutes time. Edge stood a little behind Beatrix, and looked up and down the train, as the doors opened.

    “It’s one of those new models all the news reports are harping on about. It cost the planetists six million to make 6 of these trains to run around the central network, I guess this is their induction day.”

    “Edge you’re a fountain of knowledge my dear, come on then Mikoto, seems Gala is sorted with his girlfriend.

    Beatrix smiled and rolled her eyes at Gala, who was struggling to leave Pepper’s grip, boarding the train and looking around. Inside was all silver and steel blue. The seats and floor were like the rest of the train, clean. The cushions upon the seats upon closer inspection revealed to be incredibly comfortable. Mikoto sat down and was surprised at the amount of comfort the seats offered,

    “Wow, the Planetists really outdid themselves on this, wonder how long it’ll take before these trains are screwed, like the rest of them…”

    Gala had by now given up on trying to get away from Pepper, her grip was like a titanium handcuff. He sighed and allowed her to choose a seat and lead him like a mere dog on a leash wherever she wanted. Gala sighed and rolled his eyes every now and then, silently expressing his distaste for the situation. Why me? Of all the bloody men in Solar, pepper has to do this with me…

    After a few minutes had passed, and the remainder of the passengers had boarded the train, Edge bolted up from his seat and looked out of the window and across the station. The green creature that Gala had killed earlier on stood at the entrance, it’s eyes glowering, and red blood dripping at it’s feet from the Gun inflicted wounds. The creature glared around the station, causing a state of panic to erupt. The panic was fed more so as three more of the creatures smashed through the ceiling of the station, destroying the clock in the process, and landing next to the creature that had emerged beforehand.

    “Gala, I thought you killed those bastards?”

    Gala turned around, much to the dismay of Pepper and looked out of the window at the havoc within the station.

    “Shit… these things are harder than I thought… Pepper for Gods sake, GET THE FUCK OFF MY ARM.”

    Pepper loosened her grip instantly at the look of anger in Gala’s eyes, and shrunk down, her eyes making contact with the floor. Gala shook his head and walked to the door of the train, the creatures were slowly advancing towards his location, a glare in their eyes, which seemed to pierce through the fabric of his soul.

    “Okay, four bitches, one each. Simple. Mikoto, you take the left, Gala, you take the right, and me and Edge will take the middle two.”

    Mikoto cocked her head and smiled at Beatrix’ ability to make sense of a difficult situation, before drawing her sword and standing next to her boss. Edge fixed his hat and stood a little behind Beatrix, drawing his weapon, a rare occurrence. Edge refrained from using his 9mm Chain gun whenever possible, because at times it had managed to cause more damage than a Rocket Launcher, and also the ammo it used and needed was a massive hit on his wallet. Gala shook off the glare from the creatures, and ran over to join his comrades, reloading his two silver pistols in the process and flicking his hair out of his face.

    Several TV crews had entered the station, to cover the panic situation. The sign for the trains departure time displayed the word ‘delayed’ upon the electronic notice board, and the rain rushed into the station from the newly formed hole in the ceiling. The Television reporter for channel six huddled himself in a bright orange jacket, holding a microphone as close to his face as possible. Another man stood in between him and the camera, with a large black umbrella, and the camera man gave the thumbs up to indicate the film was rolling.

    “I’m coming to you live from Central Station downtown on Channel 6, where a strange situation has occurred. Four unknown creatures have entered the station, and we are unsure of what is going to happen yet. The four creatures have into made a move on anyone as of yet, however people are evacuating the station as fast as possible. This reporter will attempt to bring you the best coverage he can, while risking his own life, this is Channel Six news.”

    End of Chapter 003
    Last edited by Zephyr Flare; 21st July 2006 at 12:23 AM.

  5. #5
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    Chapter 004: Doesn’t get any better than this

    The streets around the train station remained drenched in rain as the downpour continued in torrents from the greys above. Faint screams from the station echoed through the air, into the ears of a tall man dressed in black, crimson as the secondary colour of his clothes. Hanging from his waist, lined with a crimson belt, was a large scimitar. Adorned with Gold, Black and crimson lacing, the rain fell onto it lightly, and gave it an unusual shine. A large hat cast his face into shadow; all that could be seen was a cigarette hanging from his mouth.

    Ahead of the man was the station, people could be seen flooding out of the doors. Police vans had taken position all around the main entrance of the building, and several helicopters had taken to the skies above, shining lights into the station through the rain. The man in crimson walked briskly to the entrance, several police officers attempting to stop him proceeding.

    “Sir, I’m afraid I cannot allow you to proceed any further, we have a situation here.”

    “I don’t think so.”

    “You are not the law sir, we are. Please leave the area immediately.”

    The mysterious stranger stood and let out a small laugh. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a small card, identification. He flicked it into the hands of the officer, and allowed a moment for him to study what information there was on the card.

    “I say. I am the law.”

    The officer stood, with his eyes wide at what information was upon the identification, before handing the card back to the stranger.

    “L- Let him through boys!”

    The cigarette dropped to the floor as the stranger entered the station. Reach had begun the fight with the beasts that had entered the station. The stranger looked onwards as Beatrix jumped towards one of the creatures and sliced through it, causing the beast to land on it’s side and let out a weak whimper. She flicked back her hair and rubber her forehead, examining the blood that had been transferred onto her hand. She looked up at the stranger who entered the station and twisted her face.

    “Ugh, joy, looks like another ‘badass’ wannabe. Joy and woe, they seem to collide a lot for me.”

    She grinned as Mikoto took out another of the beasts, causing it to land at the feet of the stranger. Looking around, Gala had felled the creature he had engaged himself with, and the ringing of bullets stopped soon after, signifying edge was either out of bullets, or the creature he had taken up was killed. Beatrix looked over, sure enough, the crimson mess on the floor and the tattered, bullet riddled body of the fourth creature lay at his feet. Beatrix averted her eyes back to the stranger,

    “Looks like you’re late honey. Get back to bed.”

    “I don’t think so.”

    Mikoto looked towards the mysterious person at the main entrance of the station, taken aback that she hadn’t noticed his presence previously. As she replaced her cobalt blue blade into its hilt, gala came and stood next to her, a stern look on his face.

    “Jesus Gala, I didn’t know you could make that expression.”

    “You know who that is, right?”

    “Yeah! I totally do! How did you guess that one?”

    “Didn’t think so Mik, if I’m right…”

    “Which you probably aren’t.”

    Mikito smiled towards Gala as he rolled his eyes,

    “Shut up… if I’m right, that’s Creed. Planetist big shot.”

    “Oh, really?”

    “Yeah, really.”

    “No way…”

    The stranger stood motionless for a moment longer, before raising his hands and applauding the feat reach had accomplished. The TV reporter stood shaking at the entrance, talking in hushed tone to his small crew. Beatrix stood with her eyes still on the stranger.

    “My oh my… I must say Beatrix; you have one smart womanizer working under you my dear.”

    Gala and Mikoto exchanged glances, surprised at the stranger knowing their boss’s name. Edge grunted and walked towards Beatrix, replacing his gun underneath the large coat he always wore. Beatrix grinned and flicked her hair once more.

    “Great, I have a stalker.”

    “Ouch… I’m no stalker. I just like being here when the fun starts. You should give up, you know. Your life is ending one minute at a time, and from the looks of things, the final minute is here. Look around, you haven’t killed those creatures, they’re still alive.”

    “Why don’t you look around, waltzing in here and telling me a load of bollocks, and then telling me I didn’t do my job properly?”

    “I don’t think so.”

    “Beatrix, chill it, seriously.”

    Mikoto widened her eyes and elbowed Gala,

    “Gala, shut the fuck up! Dammit.”

    “It’s fine Gala. Who are you anyway, Mr. Big shot?”

    “Creed.”

    Gala gave a knowing smile and looked at Mikoto, she looked back at him in awe, how the hell did he know that? Beatrix just stood motionless staring at the floor. Creed? Of the Planetists? No way… Edge flashed his eyes towards Creed, eyeing the scimitar at his waist. Creed smiled and raised his hat, revealing his green eyes, and brown hair.

    “Now then dear, wake up.”

    Beatrix snapped out of her trance like state in time to see Creed disappear from where he was stood, and erupt into a flurry of attacks upon the monster she thought she had felled. She spun to see dust upon the floor where the creature once lay, and Creed flashing a brief smile her way before erupting with incredible speed to the other four carcasses. Each time leaving a pile of dust on the floor.

    “Shitting hell. How does he move so quickly?”

    Creed returned to the spot at the entrance he previously stood at, and replaced his scimitar, the crimson blade still wet from the rain. He pulled his hat down over his face, and turned towards Gala, throwing a black velvet bag at his feet.

    “A little bonus for having the balls to finish my assignment.”

    Reach all spun to look at Creed, surprised looks upon their faces.

    “It was you!?”

    “Well, I’d have done it myself, but you lot could use the money for what the future holds. Adieu, until we meet again, Reach. Just remember that I may not welcome you with a favour next time.”

    The rain lightened slightly as Creed left the station, causing the once monotone grey to lighten up, and bring back some colour to the world. Reach stood motionless, the velvet bag at Gala’s feet beginning to take in water. He kicked it up into his hands after a few moments, and peered inside. A small red stone seemed to come to life as he looked upon it and held it in his hand. Mikoto stood on her tip toes to get a glimpse at the object.

    “The fuck is that?”

    “Well… I don’t know. But Mikoto, why are you swearing all the time?”

    “I am? Not even aware of it…”

    Gala just rolled his eyes and replaced the stone in the bag. He looked around the train station and at what mess had been left behind from the confrontation. He shrugged and walked over to Beatrix and Edge, with Mikoto shortly following behind. Beatrix smiled as the all too familiar sound of the train starting up erupted into the station.

    “I didn’t think the trains would be affected by this. Get on board, we’re going home.”

    End of Chapter 004.
    Last edited by Zephyr Flare; 21st July 2006 at 12:23 AM.

  6. #6
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    Chapter 005: The beginning of a truth

    An evening haze had settled amongst the structures that made up what was the northern sector of Solar. Reach had returned home, the events of hours ago just a memory. The skies above turned to a midnight blue as the hours passed by, and in a small park a little ways from Reunion, Mikoto and Gala sat on a pair of battered swings, the rust causing them to squeak quietly as the two members of Reach swung back and forth. The night sky was unusually clear, and the second moon of Charity, Threshold, lit up the silent park. The whole area was quiet, save for the occasionally squeaking of the swings, and the quiet voices of Gala and Mikoto.

    “Why didn’t you want me to tell anyone about you fainting today then?”

    “Why do you think, don’t want them thinking I’m a stupid pussy who faints from little things like a fall, do I?”

    “Since when do you care what they all think?”

    “I don’t. But still. Just, ah I dunno, maybe I’m worrying about nothing again.”

    Mikoto shrugged her shoulders and stared across the park. The entire place was run down; quite clearly it hadn’t been seen to in months. There was an old slide just barely visible under the glow of the moon, which seemed to deteriorate more and more every second. Mikoto glanced upwards at the swings, making sure they weren’t about to collapse, before returning her gaze to the rest of the park. The floor was dry mud, there was probably grass there once, but grass was a rare occurrence within Solar in the recent years. It seemed the city was being over polluted to the point of no nature being able to exist at all. There were rarely even pigeons sighted, save for in the downtown district.

    “Hey, you must have been pretty scared today, when you were running, jumping from that building, obviously aren’t afraid to die are you?”

    “Afraid to die? Nah. What have I got to live for anyway, I kill people to earn my living. Seventeen years old and I’ve probably killed more people than anyone else in Solar.”

    Mikoto gave a weak smile. She knew Gala had never been afraid of dying. Four years ago his parents were murdered, and his memory of everything before that day all but erased, save for those of his parents, a caped man and a blue light. Since then Gala had no history. He was found on the streets of Reach by Beatrix and Mikoto, living under a bridge and having to steal for a living. Clutched in his hands were the guns that he uses everyday of his life. He had always assumed them to be a parting gift from his parents, but was never really sure of where he got them. Beatrix took him under her wing after she realised the boy was a natural gunner, he could shoot in any direction with his eyes closed and never missed a stationary target. He had been attempting to improve the talent to enable him to hit a moving target in the same fashion, but had never had any luck.

    Since that day, Gala had never really valued his life. The result was he had never seemed afraid of dying, and was reckless when it came to frontal assaults. Mikoto looked at him as he sat there, his eyes gazing downwards to the floor.

    “Cheer up man, you got a bucketload of cash today. I think you should treat everyone at Reunion to drinks all night.”

    Mikoto smiled at Gala and stuck her tongue out at him, before leaping from the swing and running out of the park and towards Reunion. Gala remained on the swing, smiling at the idea of having a drink with everyone.

    “Well I haven’t got anything better to spend it on, might as well. Mikoto! Wait up!”

    Gala leaped from the swing and ran out of the park, chasing Mikoto towards Reunion. As his shouts after her faded into the night, and the squeak of the swings came to a halt, a tall figure stepped out of the shadows, the moonlight catching a crimson blade at his waist. The all too familiar figure of Creed stood silently, as if in wait for something.

    “At least one of them isn’t afraid of dying. Heh, I wonder how Beatrix is going to react to this game.”

    The gate of the park swung open as a thin man, dressed in dirty jeans and a white shirt entered the playground. He glanced over at the sport where Creed stood, seemingly analyzing the silhouette of him, whilst eying the crimson blade that reflected the moonlight of Threshold more than any other object in the area. The thin man proceeded towards Creed, the moonlight offering a brief glimpse of bruises around his forearm.

    “Super duper, I ask for an acquaintance from the mafia to discuss matters with me tonight, and they send a god damn smackhead. Simply terrific. Hello there good sir! I hope you are who I assume you to be!”

    “Yeah, like, got sent by dem guys. Dunno what the fuck dey want but dey said you needed dem or summat?”

    Creed raised his eyebrows at the strange manner in which the thin man spoke, and twisted his mouth in a look of brief disgust.

    “Yes. That’s right. Do you know where I might find someone with a better speaking pattern than you?”

    “Eh what? Yeah, jus’ fuckin’ foller me like.”

    “Right.”

    The thin man turned around and walked towards the park exit, Creed followed a little ways behind. Noting the apparent smell coming from the man, something not unlike cabbage mixed with urine, Creed decided, as they walked down the street, several streetlights helping light the way.

    A gunshot rang through the streets and the man ahead of Creed suddenly fell to the floor, the moonlight catching against the fresh blood that had appeared in streams from the mans head and causing a pool on the floor to form. Creed raised his eyebrows once more and looked around. Underneath the orange glow of a streetlamp on the opposite side of the road, a tall bald man with sunglasses stood, fixing the holster on his pistol. Creed nodded lightly towards the now dead thin man and proceeded to cross over to where the bald man was stood.

    The first thing he noted was the way the man was dressed. Accompanying his sunglasses was a sharp suit, which seemed to make him blend into darker backdrops. Creed removed his hat and cocked his head slightly towards the man, who had quickly taken to surveying the blade hilt at Creed’s waist.

    “You the guy that called earlier?”

    Creed looked up at the man, and blinked before answering,

    “Yes. That was me. I have some convenient news regarding the death of Leonardo Ronston you might be interested in hearing.”

    The man quickly averted his gaze at the mention of Leonardo Ronston and looked Creed directly in the eyes.

    “You’ll need to talk to the boss then, follow me.”

    Creed smiled and nodded towards the man, before replacing his black hat and following into a dark alleyway. The only light source was found above a metal door, in the form of a tiny porch light. The bald man knocked and waited, before a small panel upon the door was slide aside and a pair of eyes peered out.

    “It’s me, Paulie, guy that called earlier is with me, says he’s got some information on the death of that Leonardo guy that was helpin’ the boss”

    The panel was slid back into position, and a few minutes passed, before the door was opened to allow Paulie and Creed entrance into the building. Creed nodded his head in recognition of the security the mobs of Solar seemed to employ, before entering the building behind Paulie, and into a dimly lit hallway, with no sign of whoever had unlocked the main door being around. After a brief and silent walk, the two men entered a smoke filled room, to the right was a small bar, and to the left a pool table, between the two, situated in the direct middle of the extensive room was a poker table, with a group of suited men sitting around it. Paulie motioned Creed over to the table, before heading over to the bar area.

    “You the guy that knows somethin’ ‘bout the death of Leon eh?”

    The voice wasn’t of an accent Creed recognised, and came from a large blonde haired man situated directly opposite where Creed was stood. The man seemed to be reasonably young, wider than he was tall, with a plain black suit complete with white shirt and black tie.

    “I do.”

    “Much you wantin’ paid?”

    “Oh, nothing. I’m quite alright.”

    “You bein’ funny?

    “Oh I’m sorry, allow me to put it in the correct term for you.”

    Creed leaned towards the man on the table and cocked his head slightly, pushing aside the two men seated directly to the left and right of him.

    “NO I DO NOT WANT MONEY THANK YOU.”

    There was a brief moment of silence as the look of shock on the blonde haired man turned into a smile.

    “Now do you want this information or am I wasting my time?”

    “Alright then smartass, talk.”

    “Terrific. I’m sure you’re all aware of a delightful bar around this area, are you not?”

    “No. We are not aware of a God damn bar in the middle of the fucking city. THERE ARE NO BARS IN THIS CITY TO BE AWARE OF. God fucking damn man, what ****ing bar?”

    “Calm down chubby. Reunion.”

    “What the fuck did you just call me?”

    “I called you a delightfully polite young man.”

    “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST CALL ME?”

    Creed sighed, by now the room was silent and all that could be heard was a car go by outside. The entire room was turned to face Creed, and he simply stood smiling, making sure that his weapon was hidden from view. Paulie stopped drinking for a moment and called over to the table;

    “Hey boss, he’s got somethin’ under that coat o’ his”

    The blonde haired man smiled and nodded, looking at Creed, who remained unphased by his weapon being revealed. He looked directly into the eyes of the blonde haired man once more.

    “Look. The people that killed Leonardo Ronston today reside above the Reunion bar, club, whatever. Their leader is named Beatrix. If you’re planning on avenging the guy, though I don’t know what reason you’d hold, then that’s where you should go on your killing spree or whatever it is you do.”

    Creed turned to the door and left the room. He pulled out a phone from his pocket and searched through his phonebook; he then placed the phone against his ear and allowed it to ring several times. The voice that answered was that of a young woman.

    “Hello?”

    “Hello Andromeda my dear, is my favourite person around?”

    “Nah, he’s out.”

    “He’s out? Gracious! You need to upload this news onto the internet my dear!”

    “Stop picking on him, he’s your boss you know.”

    “He’s also one for humour. Can you pass on a message?”

    “Sure thing.”

    “Can you just tell him that Reach is as good as gone? And also that I don’t think he really needed to send me for this.”

    “Alright, catch you later?”

    “I’m going for a drink; I’m off for the rest of today, and a goodbye!”

    ***
    Above the club floor of Reunion, Beatrix sat in a large leather chair, looking out of the window that Sage was all too familiar with. The old man entered the room behind her, taking a long draw from his pipe. The left of the room was where he lived, and to the right, his study, complete with a bookshelf wall.

    “Did you have fun today then, Beatrix?”

    “Not as much fun as Gala did.”

    Sage walked towards the window, staring out across solar. Beatrix went to get up from the chair, but he motioned to her with a wave of his hand not to bother.

    “I’m old Beatrix, but I’m not lazy.”

    “That’s why you spend all of your time indoors isn’t it?”

    Sage laughed;

    “Okay, so once again you catch me out.”

    “I’m only joking with you. Something seems up with you anyway. What’s wrong?”

    Sage averted his gaze from the window, and looked towards Beatrix.

    “It’s about time for the angel.”

    “The angel huh?”

    “Oh that’s correct, you don’t believe in that, what was it? Bullshit?”

    “I didn’t know you were capable of swearing!”

    “And I didn’t know you were capable of anything, but look at you now.”

    “Fair enough.”

    “Anyway, you better believe that angels do come. But… well, you know me, and my books, and my experience, I’ve always wondered if they really were angels, or just another Planetist ploy.”

    “That would make sense, you know? Wait, the angels actually do come down?”

    “Oh yes. They certainly do. The thing I don’t understand is…”

    “What?”

    “Well, of all the angels to come down to this planet, I’m sure I’ve seen them before they actually ‘are seen for the first time,’ if you understand what I mean.”

    “You mean that you seem to recognise the angels?”

    “Exactly. I’m not alone in this either. The theory goes that the angels are actually just successful Planetist experiments, or something along those lines. This is a mere coincidence, too, but it always seems that in between three and six years before the angel appears, or rather, in between the ninety-fourth and ninety-seventh year of a century cycle, something always seems to happen within this city that is stranger than anything else. Like, a terrible accident, or, I don’t know, something that changes someone emotionally.”

    “Right. Yeah, see, that’s coincidence.”

    “Then why has it happened in all of my lifetime?”

    “Oh yeah, how old are you?”

    “Nine hundred and twenty three.”

    “So you’ve seen nine angels?”

    “Yes.”

    “What’s your real name?”

    “That has nothing to do with this Beatrix!”

    “Sorry, sorry, just, you know, wondering.”

    “Can you be serious?”

    “No.”

    Sage rolled his eyes and moved towards the chair, motioning for Beatrix to get up.

    “Thanks.”

    “Aww, I was just comfortable too.”

    “Anyway, I have a request of a mission, or rather, a favour.”

    “Delighted to be of service.”

    “It’ll be dangerous.”

    “And?”

    “And I have no money.”

    “Sage, I think we owe you more than anything you could owe us. What’s the favour?”

    “You’re too kind dear. I want to ask if you can sneak into the planetist headquarters, and see what you can find, if anything, about these so called ang…”

    “Wait what? Sneak into their headquarters? Sage, you and I both know that’s suicide!”

    “Oh come Beatrix you’ve done harder things than this. It’ll be easy. You don’t have to do this though, as I say, it’s more of a favour than anything else.”

    “Man… I’ll see what I can do. What am I looking for?”

    “Anything that is in regards to the angels.”

    “Terrific.”

    Beatrix leaned against the desk and flicked back her hair. She stared out of the window, towards the huge building that loomed above all of Solar, like a Devils Tower, the Planetist headquarters. As the room fell into silence, Beatrix became aware of how cold it was, and pulled up the zipper on her white jacket. She hadn’t planned on going into the club so she was dressed in jeans and a blue tank top, with the jacket over it.

    There was a knock at the door, before Edge entered the room, and looked around. Beatrix turned her head and looked at him; he seemed to be in panic.

    “What’s up with you?”

    “We have problems downstairs.”

    End of Chapter 005.

  7. #7
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    Chapter 006: Altercation

    “If this is about that tap again Edge, I’ve told you, it’s not my problem. Talk to Mary about it.”

    “Oh, no Beatrix. I understood that the last time that was a problem; this is something a bit worse. You know… the kind of problem you should probably get Eve for.”

    “What?”

    “Just get it.”

    Beatrix stood still for a moment looking at Edge, there was no noise downstairs or outside, yet he had told her to get Eve, her sword. She arched her eyebrows and turned back to her bedroom. She opened the oak door to the room and looked inside. To her right was her bed, which dominated the left hand side of the room. The bed was covered by a navy blue sheet adorned with a gold trim, and with bed posts were made of fine oak. She looked at it for a moment and realised how tired she felt. Hanging on the side of a dresser complete with an extravagant mirror was her sword, Eve. She picked it up and looked at herself in the mirror, and noted what she was wearing, the blue tank top, jeans and a white jacket from earlier. She shrugged and took off the jacket, throwing it on the bed. Walking out of the room, she noticed Edge standing at the door.

    “You mind telling me what’s going on in the club now then?”

    “I told you, we have trouble.”

    Beatrix rolled her eyes and shrugged once more, before flicking back her hair.

    “Lead the way princess.”

    “Princess?”

    “A joke Edge! Good God. Just go.”

    Edge narrowed his eyes at Beatrix and turned tail, walking briskly down the hallway towards the stairwell. He was, as always, dressed in the large coat and black hat that had become somewhat of a trademark for him. His face was hidden for a reason nobody, save for Beatrix, knew of. Edge had several events in the past occur that had since caused him to become a wanted man. Since joining Reach, Edge had become somewhat of a pacifist, only using his weapons when there is no alternative to doing so. As a result, he often questioned any missions to do with assassination, or which involved hurting people.

    “Edge, I can’t even hear anything, where is everyone?”

    “Shh… come to the door.”

    Beatrix gave Edge a funny look, before moving towards the door at the bottom of the stairs that led into the club area of Reunion. He opened the door enough for her to look through, inside were several creatures bearing striking resemblance to the ones they had fought earlier that day. Nobody was in the bar area, save for the creatures and a bald man in a suit at the club entrance.

    Shit, what the hell is this about?”

    “Hell if I know Beatrix, but Gala and Mikoto are out, and I can count seven of the creatures already, and chances are there are more outside.”

    “Where’s Mary, and everyone in the bar?”

    “Mary’s not stupid Bea, she has camera’s set up everywhere, she would’ve saw this coming and got everyone out safely. She knows this building better than even I do.”

    “Fair enough then. Least we don’t have to worry about anyone from the club being hurt.”

    “So… what do we do?”

    “Well, I personally think we should charge in there and attempt to survive for more than five seconds, thoughts?”

    “Are you serious?”

    “Edge. I’m going to be honest with you, you need a sense of fricken’ humour.”

    “Hm. Beatrix, this is hardly the time for jokes.”

    “Whatevs.”

    “Well it isn’t.”

    “Sh, you hear that?”

    “Sounds like…”

    Beatrix and Edge looked at each other and smiled,

    “Mikoto and Gala!”

    “Edge, you got your phone?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Gracias.”

    Edge pulled out the small phone from his pocket and handed it to Beatrix. She took it and quickly searched through the phonebook, eventually finding Mikoto’s number. She pressed the call button and awaited an answer. Sure enough, the faint ring tone of Mikoto’s phone could be heard just outside the club.

    “Hello?”

    “Hey Mikoto, its Beatrix. We have a problem.”

    “I saw, who the hell is the bald guy, and why are those creatures here?”

    “That’s a very good question Mikoto. VERY GOOD.”

    “Alright I get it, what do you want me and Gala to do?”

    “Right, are you near the entrance now?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Right, when I say go, you and Gala storm the entrance, and get inside, and then we’ll see what we can do together, you have your stuff, right?”

    “Boss, you’re the only one of us that doesn’t have their weapon with them all the time, hell, you’re the only person in this city that does that!”

    “Alright alright, okay then, ready?”

    “Hold on, Gala doesn’t know what the hell is going on.”

    Beatrix rolled her eyes and heard the conversation between Mikoto and Gala over the phone,

    “Boss wants us to ambush the guy and get inside.”

    “Mikoto, boss is nuts. Those creatures, yeah, SEVEN of them? No way.”

    “What boss says goes Gala. Hello? Alright Boss, we’re ready.”

    “Tell Gala to stop being such a wuss. Ready? Steady? Ok, go!”

    Beatrix gave the phone back to Edge and kicked open the door into the club, averting the entire attention of the seven creatures to her. She stepped back as she realised the sheer size of them. The creatures were similar to the ones they had fought downtown, however these ones were about two feet longer, and stood on their hind legs as Beatrix drew her sword. The scales they were covered in were a turquoise green colour, and their eyes were red at the iris. Towards the back of the room, stood next to the now grinning bald man, the largest creature rose to its feet. As it stood straight its head just barely missed scraping the ceiling, identifying it was a little less than nine feet tall.

    “You know Edge; I’m beginning to think this was a bad idea.”

    “You’re not alone Beatrix.”

    “Going to actually use your gun this time?”

    “Are these things human?”

    “Do they look human to you?”

    “Guess I’m going to be using my gun then.”

    Beatrix pulled out Eve and took it in her hand, grinning as she stared into the eyes of the creature stood closest to her and Edge. Edge reached into his jacket and pulled out a large .12 gauge shotgun, holding it easily with one hand. He placed it leaning on his shoulder and pulled out a cigarette, placing it in his mouth and then lighting it, paying no attention to the mass of monsters before him. Beatrix looked at him, smiled a little and flicked back her hair once more.

    “NYYYAAAAAAAH!!”

    Mikoto burst through the doorway of Reunion, knocking the bald man to the floor, and splitting his head open. She glanced down and a look of unease spread across her face, before she twisted her nose and shrugged her shoulders. She looked up from the floor and cast her eyes on the creatures, which had now averted their gaze from Beatrix to her. Her eyes widened before she was pushed forward into the room by Gala. She looked back at him smiling in the doorway before realising she was now surrounded at all angles by the creatures.

    “Gala you bastard!”

    Mikoto picked up her sword and jumped up from the ground, flipping over in mid air and placing her feet on the ceiling of the room, before pushing herself back down towards one of the creatures, her left fist extended so that it hit the creature she launched herself at in the chest and knocked it to the floor. She picked herself up and swung her sword at a second creature that had lunged at her from behind.

    Gala grinned at Mikoto being the first to make a move, and shot the largest creature three times in the back before being punched in the jaw and sent flying across the room. The large creature jumped across after him, and roared as it came to land on top of him. Gala closed his eyes and heard an extremely loud gunshot erupt from inches above his face; Edge had jumped in inches before the creature had made its impact on Gala and shot it in the mouth.

    Gala smiled at Edge, before picking himself up and reloading his guns. Edge simply nodded and jumped after the large creature, which had by now been shot with seven bullets, one directly through the skull, but was still alive and well. Beatrix stood on the bar, dancing around three of the smaller creatures and taking quick swipes with her sword at their faces. The three creatures fell back before lunging at her from three different angles at once. She simply grinned and jumped into the air, causing the three creatures to head butt one another and effectively knock themselves out. She rolled her eyes and jumped into the middle of the room, taking a stand next to Mikoto.

    Mikoto had been fighting the same creature for several minutes, and had managed to stab it through the chest several times. She stopped moving for a split second and felt the price as several claws ripped across her back, causing her to fall to her knees in pain. She heard Beatrix shout her name and quickly jumped into the air, as the creature guilty of ripping up her back crashed into the ground, where she was sitting seconds ago. She landed once more on the ceiling of the club, looking down and noting the creature that had attacked her.

    As she plummeted back to the floor, her sword ready to swipe at the creature, Gala and Edge were busy fighting off the two largest creatures of the seven. Three had been knocked out by themselves, and were slowly beginning to stir, and none of the creatures were letting up their attack, regardless of how many times they were shot, or stabbed. Gala had continuously shot the largest creature through the head, as had edge, and half of its face was now missing, but it still attacked with full force.

    “Edge, this isn’t working buddy!”

    “I know Gala, I know, just keep at it!”

    “This is stupid.”

    Gala took another shot at the largest creature before feeling the megaton fore of its punch across his face. He was sent flying across the room, before being quickly followed by Edge. As Gala landed, the bar crumbled under the force of his weight, and was broken into pieces as Edge landed. Gala looked across to Beatrix, who had managed to cut off the arm of the creature attacking her, but in doing so had seemingly caused the creature to enter a blind rage. Mikoto was dancing and jumping around the creature that had clawed her back, and had managed to deal a significant amount of damage to the torso, but nothing was making the creatures stop, save for the three that had been knocked out by themselves. Gala glanced over to the three concussed creatures and noticed they were beginning to stir. He jumped over and kicked one of them onto its back, before shooting directly into the heart of the creature.

    Blood erupted from the chest, but there was no significant damage dealt. Studying the body of the creature, Gala noticed a slight throb in the end of its tail. He shot where the throb was and to his amazement the creature burned up and turned to ash. He grinned and shouted to the rest of Reach,

    “Aim for their tails!”

    He quickly made waste of the other two concussed creatures, and caught the attention of the other four remaining. The entire lot dropped their attention from the other members of Reach and lunged at him from all angels of the room. His eyes closed and he cringed as he waited for their claws to come into contact with his body. Beatrix jumped after the creatures and was followed quickly by Mikoto. Edge shot from across the room and caused the creatures to fall to the side; Gala opened his eyes and shook his head violently in disbelief at his luck. He grinned at Edge and gave him a nod before turning his guns to the tails of the creatures. Mikoto and Beatrix stood over the two they had been in combat with and sliced at the tail of both creatures, causing their bodies to turn into ash. Gala shot at the tail of the largest creature, before feeling his face to check if there were any cuts from the punch he had received. Edge simply towered over the second largest creature, took aim and shot the throb in the tail of the beast. The members of Reach all exchanged glances and smiled at each other, before replacing their weapons and looking at the mess the bar had become. Near the entrance of the bar, the bald man stirred, looked up and realised that the creatures had been laid to waste. His eyes widened in terror as he looked towards the members of Reach, and as he tried to get up, Gala sent four bullets searing through the air. All of them made contact with the man’s torso and he lay dead in a pool of crimson blood.

    “Was the necessary Gala?”

    “Hey, no bald fuck is coming into Reunion with his bitch ass monster, things, and then expect to fucking get away with it, alright Edge?”

    “Was just asking.”

    Beatrix noticed that Mikoto’s back was severely slashed, and walked over to her.

    “We’re going to need to get that looked at Mikoto.”

    “No. I don’t do doctors. No.”

    “What if the creatures’ claws contained a mutagen or something?”

    “I said no.”

    “Then can I have a look at it for you?”

    Sage entered the room, slowly walking over to Mikoto and Beatrix. He paused and looked around at the mess the club was now in. Tables and chairs were strewn, broken, across the room. The bar itself was in splinters and there were pools of blood, from the creatures, and the members of Reach, everywhere.

    “Do you lot always make this much mess when you get into a scuffle?”

    End of chapter 006.
    Last edited by PLANES CURE TOWERS; 21st July 2006 at 12:28 AM.

  8. #8
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    Chapter 007: The 99th Floor

    “Downtown Solar Central station repairs have finally been completed. All trains will revert back to SOT within the hour. The Planetist transport department would like to apologise for any inconveniences caused to the citizens of Solar since the accident.”

    Gala sat alone underneath the Reunion bar area, half asleep, watching the news report regarding the accident of two days ago, which he was involved within, the memory of the day still fresh in his mind. From falling down the building before being caught by Mikoto, and coming home only to be involved in another death match with similar creatures. Mikoto had taken ill shortly after the fight, with blame being placed upon the wound she received from one of the creatures across her back. Gala hadn’t seen her since then. Sage had taken her into the medic station within Reunion, and neither had appeared out. The only person Sage had permitted into the room was Beatrix, and even she was tight lipped as to what Mikoto was going through.

    Gala began to become more awake as the credits of the news programme rolled onto the screen. He sat up and rubbed one of his hands across his face, before slumping back down into the seat. His memory of Mikoto keeling over shortly after Sage had entered the room after the fight slowly returned to him… Mikoto telling everyone she was fine before keeling over unconscious replayed vibrantly in his mind. He clenched his fist and slammed down on the arm of the seat, cursing at himself under his breath.

    Why did it have to be her? Why not me or something? And now I can’t even see what kind of state my best friend is in… this is bollocks…

    Gala tilted his head back, looking towards the ceiling of the Reach mission room. He slowly closed his eyes as the familiar theme of “Doom music never makes things funny” emanated from the television set. He reached for the remote and turned the set off, before drifting off into another dreamless sleep.

    ***

    “My my Edge, aren’t you the hero! You’ve really helped fixed up my bar nice and tight! I think it’s going to be drinks on the house for you tonight, no wait, make that everyone!”

    “I don’t drink Mary…”

    “Like hell!” Mary laughed, “I’ve seen that flask you fill up from my taps! I am security around here you know! Better not forget it!”

    Edge turned away uneasily from Mary, walking out of the bar and upstairs. Mary simply smiled, shrugged her shoulders and looked at herself in the large mirror behind the bar. Her curly hair came down to her shoulders, and was a light brown colour. The colour was matched by her eyes, which matched perfectly into her slender face. As always, she was wearing a white blouse shirt, and plain black trousers. Mary was only nineteen years old; however she had served as the Barmaid for Reunion since she was merely fifteen. As well as that, she also managed the security of the bar, and more importantly, the headquarters of Reach. She had cameras set up in places even the members of Reach didn’t know of, and knew the entire building back to front, and inside out.

    She and Edge had managed to completely repair the entire bar area from the mess it was from the fight with the creatures, into a new, improved and completely revamped Reunion. New lighting had been installed, as well as new mahogany panelling around the walls of the entire room. Varnished tables had been brought in to replace the old worn tables from before, and the entire bar had been crafted from old oak, and came complete with a large fish tank in the front. Even the floor of the club had been replaced, with a lush red carpet around the outskirts of the room, and towards the centre, more Mahogany panelling, to go with the walls. Gala had, according to Mary at least, put a fair amount of the Sixty Million he had received from the previous job to a very good cause. Thanks to the money, Reunion had been completely refurbished to a much higher standard than ever before in a matter of two days.

    Mary looked once more into the mirror and the entrance to the Reach mission room, and also where Gala was, caught her eye,

    “Wonder how Gala’s doing…” she quietly said to herself, cocking her head slightly, “he’s been really depressed lately… maybe I should go say hi… Mikoto being out of action has really gotten to him bad…”

    “He’d probably like it if you did.”

    “Wha..?”

    Mary turned around and saw Beatrix stood at the bar, smiling slightly. Beatrix lifted one of her hands and ran it through her hair, before motioning to the door of the mission room.

    “Go say hi to him chick, he could use some company.”

    “Well why don’t we both go Beatrix?”

    “I’m gonna go see Mikoto. Tell Gala she’s doing alright.”

    “Is she really?”

    Beatrix sighed and looked away from Mary, walking towards the stairwell and out of sight. Mary stood looking at where Beatrix had made her exit for a moment, wondering what was going on with Mikoto, and wondering whether or not she could lie to Gala about his best friend being alright… because the way Beatrix acting was sufficient evidence to suggest quite the opposite.

    “Bleh, I guess it’s for the best… white lies never hurt.”

    Mary shrugged and walked over to the entrance of the mission room, opening a concealed wall panel and entering a pin code upon the interface within the concealed alcove. The door slid open and Mary wandered down the metal spiral staircase and into the room. Gala was slumped down in the armchair, his face looking towards the ceiling, and his eyes closed.

    “Aww…” Mary whispered, “He’s asleep… best not wake GALA!!”

    Gala jumped up from his seat and looked at Mary, a fire burning in his eyes, she just laughed at him.

    “Stupid bitch, what was that for?” He shouted.

    “What’d you call me!?” Mary suddenly taking a serious tone,a nd advancing towards Gala,

    “Err… I called you an um… a miss?” Gala said shakingly, as Mary advanced further towards him.

    “That wasn’t nice Gala, gonna get hurt now ain’cha?”

    Mary drew back her hand and slapped Gala clean across his face, causing him to swear extremely loudly. She just laughed and sat down on the table in the centre of the room. Gala sat for several minutes, rubbing his face and looking disdainfully at Mary, while she simply sat and smiled at him.

    “Should see what me and Edge have done upstairs, it’s quite nice!” Mary said, quickly trying to avert Gala’s attention from the fact he now had a huge red handprint across his face.

    “Meh.” Gala sighed, and sat back into the chair, sinking into the cushion.

    “Come and have a look.”

    Mary reached out her hand and motioned for Gala to grab it so she could help him up. Gala reached for her hand and pulled her on top of him, taking hold of her other arm with his other hand. He looked into her eyes and smiled,

    “That fucking hurt, you know. If you weren’t so pretty I’d have probably kicked you’re ass by now.”

    “How charming! Still haven’t lost that Gala spirit we all love, have you?”

    “I try.”

    “Me too.”

    Gala and Mary sat in the chair for several minutes, staring into each others eyes and smiling at one another. Gala eventually loosened his grip on Mary’s arms, expecting her to pull away as he did, however Mary fell on top of him, and seconds later they were sharing a relaxing kiss, slumped down in the chair. Several minutes passed and eventually Mary pulled herself away from Gala, smiling once again at him. He returned the smile and raised his eyebrows at her.

    “Not bad Mary.”

    “Yeah, not bad yourself, considering you’re a womaniser and all that.”

    “Oh thanks! Kiss me then kick me in the balls, way to go!”

    “No problem, you gonna come see the new bar now?”

    “I would’ve came anyway you know.”

    “Yeah but the whole persuasion thing was more fun, wouldn’t you say?”

    “I dunno…”

    “WHAT?”

    “Of course it was.” Gala smiled and pressed one of his fingers against his lips, “Nice strawberry taste, too.”

    Mary smiled back and rolled her eyes, before walking towards the metal staircase that led upstairs into the bar. As they ascended the spiralling staircase, Gala made a grab for Mary’s behind which caused her to jump and fall back onto him. They paused in silence for a moment before breaking out into laughter and carrying on their ascent. Gala and Mary had always flirted with each other, ever since that day Gala had joined Reach as a full time member, and the two were introduced. Whenever Mikoto saw the two at it, she always used to sulk away, and whenever Gala had asked what was wrong, she always replied that she was totally fine. As he continued climbing and the laughter between himself and Mary subsided, Gala’s thoughts drifted back to Mikoto, and what she’d be like if she saw what had happened. His thoughts quickly returned to their worrisome state as he reminded himself of Mikoto up in the medical room, with only Sage as company. It occurred to him that he didn’t even know if she was awake, for all Gala knew, Mikoto was in a deep coma.

    Mary opened the door into the bar area of Reunion and Gala’s mind swiftly changed upon the newly designed room that spread out before him. He noted the fresh Mahogany walls, and the amazing new Fish tank installed within the bar. He started clapping and turned to Mary,

    “You and Edge really put a lot of work into this didn’cha?”

    “Couldn’t have done it without the money you let us use.” Mary winked at Gala.

    Gala laughed, “What else would I spend it on?”

    “Knowing you Gala, pornography and biscuits.”

    “Oh come on Mary!” Gala started laughing more so, “what do you take me for?”

    Mary arched her eyebrows and smiled at Gala, “A lovable womaniser, what else?”

    “Caught me!”

    Mary’s smile weakened and she looked up at Gala, “Maybe you should go see Mikoto?”

    “Can’t, Sage ain’t letting me in there.”

    “Why not?”

    An old voice emerged into the room, “You can go see her now if you like.”

    Gala and Mary turned towards the staircase leading to the upper reaches of Reunion, and recognised the ever knowing glint in Sage’s eyes as he stood in the doorway looking at the two teenagers. He motioned with one of his hands up the stairs and nodded in Gala’s direction.

    “She’s back to normal now Gala, you may go and say hello if you’d like, you too Mary, although I’d like a brief word with you before you go.”

    Gala smiled at Sage and turned to Mary, bending over slightly and kissing her on the cheek before walking briskly to the staircase, passing Sage with a simple nod, and out of sight. Sage waited for the footsteps of Gala ascending the staircase to become silence before walking over to one of the new tables in the bar and sitting himself down. Mary walked towards the table and sat down directly opposite Sage.

    “Is this about…” but Mary was cut off in mid-sentence,

    “Mary my dear, I don’t care to trifle in teenage love affairs, however”

    “Wait” Mary interjected, “Love? What love?”

    “Maybe I worded it wrongly, or maybe you’re in denial about something. Figure it out.” Sage winked as he said this, and simply smiled at the now scornful look on Mary’s face. “Mary, I need you to give me one of the security tapes from the fight two days ago, I’d very much like to look at them in detail, these creatures are fascinating, and I’ve learned a lot about them from just looking at the chemicals left in Mikoto’s wound”

    Mary shifted uneasily at the mention of chemicals and Mikoto, “Yeah, I’ll get you that no problem, but, what sort of chemicals?”

    “You haven’t seen the creatures, have you?”

    “Nopes.”

    “Hmm, their anatomy is very delicate, it’s lizard like, yet there are signs of something… something else. Like these creatures were born of another being.”

    “What are you saying?”

    “The way they are… they seem to… well, be some form of parasite.”

    “A parasite?”

    “I’m not too sure myself as of now, however I’ll look into it once I’ve seen these beasts in action. Don’t worry; you’ll be, as ever, in the know.”

    “I’ll go get the tapes for you then.”

    “Could you bring them up into my room dear? Oh, and a bottle of absinthe would be lovely too, don’t forget the sugar, ice and of course, the most important ingredient, the glass from which I shall be taking my drink!”

    Mary stifled a laugh at Sage’s apparent enthusiasm in a simple glass, and rose from her seat. Replacing the chair she looked up once more at Sage,

    “How is Mikoto doing?”

    “She’s fine, I’ve fixed her up nice and clean, you should go see her.”

    Mary smiled and walked away behind the bar and out of sight. Sage sat in the chair playing with his beard and looking airily into space, his mind whizzing with thoughts of what the creatures may be, and how they are produced.

    ***

    The ceiling fan spun airily from its place on the ceiling and cast an ever moving shadows upon the ceiling from the light upon which they were attached. The ceiling and walls – white as could possible be perceived by the eye, and the floor, metal grating. The room was part of a network of rooms that all formed up the central laboratories of the Planetist HQ. In the middle of the room network was the lift tower. The only entrance to this floor was by taking a lift up to the 126th floor, and then back down in a separate lift. This was the 99th floor of the Planetist HQ, home of the top secret laboratories, where the most glorious Planetist creations of all were brought into being.

    Only thirty people had access to this floor of wonders, one of which being the head Planetist scientist. Professor Caroll J. Holly sat at her desk alone in the white room, twiddling a pen between her fingers and looking over several sheets of notes. Caroll sighed and leaned back in her chair, looking up at the white ceiling, and the slow rotation of the ceiling fan. Blonde hair fell just above her shoulders, and her circle-rimmed glasses were perched cleanly upon her nose. On her left cheek, a small black mark resided, a beauty spot, as she liked to call it. Upon her person, she had a nightgown and her white lab coat, and upon her feet, her favourite slippers – designed to look like a buck-toothed rabbit.

    Compared to the rest of the residents of the 99th floor, Professor Caroll looked certainly out of place; however it was under her authority that the operation of the Planetist central laboratories operated. Although she was only thirty seven years old, Professor Caroll looked nothing older than twenty five. Many of the 99th floor scientists placed the blame for this on a simple aging formula that Caroll had obviously developed in great fear of becoming a hag. For the less naïve, it was a simple case of knowing that the woman was simple blessed with good looks and a flair for leadership, which was about as close to the truth as any one of them could really get.

    The phone upon her desk began to ring, and Caroll snapped out of her trance like state of staring into space and snapped up the receiver, placing it against her ear and smiling as the voice on the other end of the line played into her ear,

    “Oh it’s you, is it?” Caroll said, arching her eyebrows slightly at unmentionable thoughts the speaker had managed to place into her head with mere words. I hate this bastard…

    “Good evening professor,” the voice on the opposite end of the phone line sounded old, worn and crackled, “I trust he’s almost ready?”

    “Give or take Hydrus, give or take.”

    “Excellent work my dear, I shall be down to see you in the next few days and of course, to meet what may award you more than anything else you’ve ever developed.”

    Caroll smiled and closed her eyes, rocking back into her chair and tilting her head to look at the ceiling, “All in a days work Hydrus. What of those lizard… things that the boys below have been developing?”

    “Ah, I knew they’d eventually pique your interest.” There was a brief pause, “They’ve been working remarkably well, evolving at an unusual rate, too. Something close to your standard of work in fact.”

    “Oh come off it Hydrus, those things are shoddy workmanship, and you’ll see a true artists craft when you see what I have in store for you, mark that in your diary.”

    “I look forward to it.”

    The receiver of the phone went dead as Caroll leaned forward and replaced the phone on the desk. She rubbed her forehead and looked at the clock upon the wall; the face read that it was only 8:29pm. Yawning, Caroll rose from her seat and picked up the notes she had been looking over from her desk. She walked over to the exit of the room and pressed a button to the left of the door, and stood momentarily still as the door slid open, allowing her to pass through. She raised her head once more to the ceiling as she trudged through the bright white corridor towards the elevator in the centre of floor 99. She smiled and picked up the pace, muttering under her breath.

    “Poor Hydrus… the old fool doesn’t know what’s coming.”

    ***

    “We agreed that you’d get rid of them, what was the problem? The creatures weren’t strong enough?” echoed a quiet voice through the club. Strewn across the floor were several bodies, all stained with their own blood. The floor of the room appeared as if a crimson tide had roared into the room and then, as quickly as it had appeared, vanished, leaving the mess upon the floor as the memory of it being there.

    “It’s not our fault” a voice returned through the darkness, fear tainting the words, “you’re the ones who gave us the creatures, it’s not our fault they’re not up to scratch.”

    “Maybe you’re right, for once, and that they weren’t up to scratch, however the agreement was, that I tell you the killer of Leonardo, and you get rid of Reach, any means were at your disposal, if the creatures failed, find another way, common sense really.”

    “But… but Creed, what other way! Those creatures are easily twice the strength of anything we could have thrown!”

    “You just don’t get it do you…” Creed advanced into the light of the room, trudging through the pools below his feet, and drawing out his scimitar, “we had an agreement.”

    “You’re a coward; you just wanted us to do it because you didn’t want your own hands dirty”

    “Oh you are a clever one you are, you’re also extremely overweight too, and how does it feel, being wider than you are tall?”

    “What did you say!?” the man in the back reached into the shadows behind himself and pulled out a gun, “Say that again you son of a bitch.”

    “If you’re going to insult me, do it properly.”

    “What?”

    “Effort! Goodness… I’m getting bored of you, remember this one before you go, your life is ending one minute at a time.”

    “My life still has years!” the fat man shouted, and before Creed knew it, a flurry of bullets erupted from the gun pointed directly at him and screamed through the air. Creed dived to the side however one of the bullets ripped through his shoulder, causing him to fall to his knees, clutching the fresh wound.

    “Nice shot, but it’s over.”

    “It’s over? Yeah, for you! I just tagged you real good!” The fat man screamed out with glee at landing a hit on one of the leading Planetists, “you guys aren’t as tough as they say, you can use a weapon but what else you got! You’re just humans, like the rest of us!” the fat man shouted, letting loose another flurry of bullets as the words came from his mouth. Creed jumped into the air and readied his scimitar, noting that the man hadn’t seen him jump to the ceiling of the room as the bullets continued to spray out towards where he had moments ago been knelt down. He felt gravity begin to take force and descended towards the fat man, who was still laughing like a maniac. As Creed landed upon him, the laughter stopped. Seconds later, the man fell apart into two pieces; Creed had cut him clean in half, right down the middle.

    “And that is why you don’t shoot me.” Creed said, raising himself and replacing his scimitar, “and also the reason this is the last time I ever employ the help of one of you ridiculous mobs.” Creed turned tail and left the room, slamming the door enough as to knock it off its hinges.

    ***

    Gala closed the door of the medic room and walked over to the bedside. Mikoto lay motionless, not unlike a statue. The only motion was of her breathing. Opposite Gala were several monitors, the only one he really distinguished from the rest was from the steady beep coming from one of them – the heart rate monitor. Everything seemed normal; aside from the fact Mikoto was unconscious. Gala stood motionless, looking down at the face of his friend. Mikoto’s short brown hair was fanned out below her head, and Gala noted that her skin was extremely white, and that she looked reminiscent of an angel.

    The door to the room opened, and Gala turned to see Sage stood looking at him once more. Sage gave a slight nod and entered the room; Gala simply stood motionless looking at Sage. Several minutes passed by before either one of them spoke; it was Gala that broke the silence,

    “When will… she be better?” he said, keeping his voice low as not to stir Mikoto.

    “She’s better now. She’s just asleep; I told you it was all fine, didn’t I?” Sage replied, that ever friendly smile appearing across his face.

    “How long?”

    “She’ll be up in the morning I expect. Has Mary been yet?”

    Gala went to answer, however the answer was given as Mary appeared in the doorway, holding the security tape Sage had asked for in her hand. She entered the room and handed the tape to Sage, who then wished Gala and Mary goodnight, and disappeared out of the room, closing the door ever so quietly on his way. Mary looked down at Mikoto and then at Gala,

    “When will she be awake?” Mary asked,

    “Sage said tomorrow morning.”

    “Hmm,” Mary looked up at Gala once more, “What’s up with you?”

    “Mary, Mikoto is my best friend, seeing her like this isn’t really… well… something I want.”

    He looked once more at Mary and then proceeded to leave the room, leaving Mary staring at the door as Gala vanished out of sight. She sighed and turned to Mikoto,

    “I don’t get that kid sometimes, one minute he’s all happy go lucky, and then he’ll get all solemn like that. Bipolar, gotta be, what do you think Mik?”

    Mikoto lay as motionless as ever, and Mary sighed once more. She sat down in the simple chair next to the bed, and found herself faced with sunlight filtering through the windows. She sat up and rubbed her eyes, realising that she had dozed off in the chair and not realised it.

    “Holy hell! I slept there the whole OW OW OW MY BACK!” Mary shouted, feeling the prize for sleeping in a chair all night creep up and down her spine. She began reaching around herself to try and rub her back and ease the pain, but to no avail, a minute or so later, a voice entered the room,

    “Keep your voice down Mary.”

    Mary stopped squirming and trying to reach her back and turned to the doorway of the room, it was Beatrix. She stood in her pyjamas, rubbing her eyes and half looking at Mary.

    “Sorry Bea, I just woke up, and my back, and yeah…”

    Beatrix waved her hand in the air, trying to get Mary to shut up, and turned to Mikoto, who had begun to stir from the commotion within the room. Beatrix and Mary looked over at Mikoto as she rose from her sleep. Mikoto opened her eyes and glanced at the both, smiling a little and rubbing her eyes.

    “I just had the nicest dream.”

    End of Chapter 007.
    Last edited by PLANES CURE TOWERS; 21st July 2006 at 12:28 AM.

  9. #9
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    Well, i'm probably not in the best of moods right now, what with the stupidity in the Debate Forum and my keyboard being retarded, and it being so damn hot, but this was a good chapter, as usual. Nice, and a bit longer than the others i think. keep up the good work.
    Gone.

    http://psiumbreon.livejournal.com/82372.html

  10. #10
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    Remember, when you have a one on one conversation, always try to make it clear who’s talking. And when you are adding another person into the mix, tell us who they are. I read a couple of amazingly complicated discussions because I couldn’t tell who was who.

    There are a couple places where the flow is messed up because of some trivial spelling or grammar thing, but since there are so many chapters, and I don’t feel like going back through all of them, I won’t worry about them. Besides, they don’t really mess up the flow too much, even though they are painfully obvious. You’ve got a it of work to do on grammar, but it’s not too bad.

    It’s been so long since I’ve read this. I’ve had to catch up and look back to tell who everybody is. I should probably take a better look back at the beginning. Sometimes it really is difficult to tell what exactly is happening. Not because you describe things bad, you describe them great tbh, but because I can’t tell who is who.

    And as a final note, you shipping is a little bit too obvious, but at least it’s better than some fics.

  11. #11
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    Huh....Ok. Good. Bye

  12. #12
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    Spanks for the reviews guys, I'll take into considerationt hat my proofreading needs to be a bit more intricate. :[

    Chapter 8, bit of a filler chapter I guess, and kinda short, but you'll find some new things about about the characters, and well, don't want to spoil it! Hope you like it.

    -Josh
    ___________________________________

    Chapter 008: Caring is Creepy

    A day or so passed after Mikoto’s recovery, and Reach was soon back to normal operation, with the team back to full capacity. Jobs had been relatively quiet, and nothing out of the ordinary had been reported as happening in the city. Beatrix lay down in her bed, staring at the patterns on the ceiling; the window to her left extended a view towards the northern wall of Solar. A gigantic monolith built centuries ago during the first Great War of Charity. Beatrix closed her eyes, and drifted in and out of dreamy thought. What occupied her mind above all else was the favour that Sage had requested of Reach. His words echoed in her mind, I want to ask if you can sneak into the Planetist headquarters, and see what you can find, if anything, about these so called angels.

    In her head she drew a map out of the glittering blackness that was the vision beyond her closed eyes. The Planetist HQ was built on an enormous bottom. The bottom floor was just under a mile wide, and was open to visitors. It came complete with a tram system that ran around the perimeter. On the four poles of the floor were the main entrances, and in the middle was the primary lift that took its occupants up to the 25th floor of the building, or down to the 25th floor of the underground facilities. Visitors weren’t allowed beyond the ground floor, and the lift was constantly guarded at all times, the shift switches were done in such a way that there was never a blind moment in the security. This rang true for the entire building.

    The Planetist HQ was, in essence, the ultimate fortress. Beatrix sat and contemplated this thought for several minutes, before deciding that it was stupid to even think that a break in might be possible. She lay motionless; her mind blank for a moment, when her thoughts began to wander to what it was the Planetists actually did in the building. What was the reason their security was so tight? Her mind wandered once more, and her thoughts drifted back to Sage’s request, before she opened her eyes and sat upright.

    “What if he’s…?” Beatrix paused for a moment, “What if he’s right…? What if there really is something going on?” She sat for several moments, concentrating hard on what to think of the situation, when she fell back down to the bed with a sigh, “This is way beyond my remote concern. I just do what I’m asked, he wants us to go break in, and we’ll give it a shot. I guess I’ll have to go downstairs and mull it over with the guys though…”

    ***

    Mikoto sat with Gala in the room beneath the bar area of Reunion; the mission room for Reach. She sat fiddling around with an acoustic guitar, as Gala sat silently across the room, glancing in her direction every so often. Mikoto glanced up every now and then and would catch his gaze, and each time she did, Gala ducked down.

    “What’s up with you today?” Mikoto eventually asked.

    “Hm?” Gala forced a small smile, “Oh, nothing, just thinking about… stuff.”

    “What kind of stuff?” Mikoto replied, placing the acoustic guitar down next to her chair and leaning back, her gaze never averting from Gala, who had returned to looking down and avoiding her eyes.

    “Just… I don’t know, forget it.” Gala looked up once more, the forced smile taking it’s place across his face as his eyes met Mikoto’s.

    Mikoto shrugged her shoulders and stood up, looking across at Gala, “Do what you want kiddo.” She walked across the room and out of sight. As the sound of her footsteps faded, Gala sighed and slumped back down in the chair. He lay still for several minutes, contemplating what was going through his head. Why did Mikoto get like she did whenever he and Mary flirted with one another? Since his last encounter with Mary, Gala’s mind hadn’t been very straight. His thought was interrupted, however, by the sound of footsteps walking down the stairs and into the room.

    Gala looked over at the door to the stairwell. It opened and Mary stood there, grinning over at Gala.

    “Hi!” Mary smiled and bounced over to Gala, sitting down on the arm of the chair he had placed himself upon.

    Gala looked up at her smiling face and found himself once again forcing a very awkward smile, “Hi Mary…”

    “What’s up with you? Did you lose your yo-yo again?” Mary laughed, nudging Gala in his arm.

    “No Mary, thanks for the concern though! What do you want?”

    “Wow Gala, no need to get snappy with me, Jesus.” Mary frowned and looked away, “if you must know, Mikoto came over to me not too long ago and told me that my husband isn’t feeling to-“

    Gala interjected, “Your husband?”

    “Oh God, something is seriously wrong, you’re taking jokes seriously, come on, tell Auntie Mary.”

    “Just piss off Mary, I’m not in the mood.” Gala turned away from Mary and buried his head into the opposite arm of the seat.

    “What the hell!? I’m just trying to cheer you up, Christ.” Mary’s frown quickly turned into a smile, “How’s this then, Gala? Turn around.”

    Gala moved his head from the arm and turned to face Mary, before she jumped on top of him and started kissing him. Way to go Mary, Gala thought, as his lips were pressed against Mary’s, you sure know how to persuade a guy! Several minutes passed and Mary and Gala lay in the chair, as Mikoto entered the room unannounced, and coughed loudly at the sight she was witness to. Mary jumped off Gala, hurting his groin in the process and causing him to writhe in pain, and turned to face Mikoto.

    “Hey Mikoto! I was just leaving! See ya chick!” Mary smiled at Mikoto and walked out of the room. Mikoto just smiled back and looked over at Gala, who was still clutching himself in pain. Her face wasn’t one that looked content.

    “What’s… oh Jesus that hurt… what’s wrong Mikoto?” Gala forced himself to accept that the pain would go away itself, and sat up as he finished the sentence.

    Mikoto looked over and raised her eyebrows, “You cheered up. Good for you.”

    “Jealous, much?” Gala smiled, what he has thought was true!

    “No, not really.” Fuck Gala thought to himself, “I just don’t really get what the hell there is with you two, that and Marco likes Mary a lot, you do know that don’t you? Last time I heard she likes him too, quite the home wrecker aren’t we Gala?”

    “Easy Mikoto! I didn’t know that! Why are you being so cold to me? I thought we were best friends?”

    “Whatever, I’m just saying. Anyway, I came down to let you know that Beatrix wants us all in here in an hour for a meeting; seems like we got ourselves a special request mission. She says it’ll be the hardest thing we’ve ever done, and she wants us all to discuss it, and think about it.”

    “Right.” Gala shrugged, and Mikoto turned to leave the room, “Wait a sec Mikoto.”

    She turned around to face him once more, “What is it?”

    “There’s no attraction of any kind between us at all, is there?” Gala sheepishly asked, looking down in embarrassment, this wasn’t like him at all.

    “You’re my best friend Gala. Always will be. Settle for that alright?”

    “But… what if I want us to be something more?”

    “What do you want me to do?” Mikoto twisted her face as the words escaped her mouth, “Say aww? Fuck that. I don’t want to be anything more than friend’s Gala, period.”

    “What is up with you today? PMS or what?”

    “Fuck you.” Mikoto snapped, and walked out of the room. Gala stood motionless, his jaw slightly dropped from its usual position at what had just happened. He kicked a small coffee table and watched it fly across the room.

    “Fuck her then. I don’t need it anyway, what the hell was I thinking.”

    ***

    Edge, Mikoto and Gala all sat around the large table in the mission room an hour later. The room was cast into complete silence, it would be another three hours before Reunion was open once more to the public, and the three Reach members did not so much as look at each other. It was silent as to the point of being able to hear a pin drop on a pile of cushions. Several more minutes passed, and the silence was eventually broken by the footsteps of Beatrix descending the stairs from the club into the room. Beatrix entered, dressed in a white shirt and jeans. She proceeded to the final chair at the table, and sat down, looked around at the members of Reach, and sighed.

    “Alright.” Beatrix finally said, “We have a new mission. It’s unpaid, and it’s probably the most dangerous thing we will ever do.”

    “So fuck it then Beatrix.” Gala objected, “What’s the point, it should’ve been a straight up no as soon as they mentioned there was no payment.”

    “Gala, let me finish” Beatrix calmly said to the frustrated teen, “The client is Sage. He was the one that requested this mission of us. Be quiet and I ‘ll run through the details.”

    Gala and Mikoto sat with puzzled looks on their faces and exchanged glances, before remembering they weren’t talking, and turning quickly away from each other, facing Beatrix. Edge sat as he always did, silent and calm, he didn’t stir, he didn’t say anything, he just sat and watched Beatrix.

    Beatrix sat for a moment, running through what she was going to say, and eventually spoke. “The mission goes, that we enter the Planetist headquarters, and we locate and take any evidence we can find of… the angels. I’m talking absolutely anything, logs, books, computer discs, files, diaries, the lot. If it has something to do with the angels, we need to take it.” She stopped for a moment and recounted her thoughts, “You all know how heavily guarded that building is, however I suspect that it is heavily reliant on the initial security, once we get past the 25th floor, we should be on safer grounds. However, you understand that if we are to pass the ground floor, we enter a new world, a world that I do not know my way around, a world that nobody but the employees of that floor will understand. I don’t know what they do in that building, and part of me doesn’t want to know, however considering Sage is the one asking, and after discussing this with him, I came to the conclusion that I’d like to carry out this mission. However it’s down to you three to decide whether or not you come with me.”

    Not a second of silence passed before Edge spoke. “I’ll go.”

    Beatrix nodded and turned to face Mikoto and Gala. She caught sight of them glancing and frowning at each other, before returning their gazes to her.

    “Hang on; what’s up with you two?” Beatrix asked.

    “He’s an asshole. Basically.” Mikoto replied. Gala just groaned and fixed his gaze on Beatrix.

    “I’ll go.” He eventually said.

    Beatrix nodded at him once more and then looked toward Mikoto. Mikoto grinned at her; “Do you have to ask?” was all she said, causing a brief smile to flicker across Beatrix’s face. “Oh yeah, Gala?” Mikoto turned, a hint of innocence in her voice, “just forget about what happened earlier, I don’t care anymore, we’re cool right?”

    “Sure Mikoto, whatever you like.” Gala sat, looking at her with a puzzled expression, Just a second ago I was an asshole… what the hell… fucking bipolar… he thought to himself before shrugging and smiling back at Mikoto. Beatrix nodded once more and smiled herself.

    “Right then!” Beatrix proceeded, “Now all we need to do is work out how we’re going to do this.”

    “It’s impossible Cap’n, we’ll never make it!” Exclaimed Gala, a hint of an Irish accent playing across his words.

    “And since when were you an Irishman Gala?” Replied Mikoto,

    “Ar, it be doon two year ago when I met Agnus Mcleary, he taught me the trick of the trade!”

    “The trade of what?” Beatrix responded, her eyebrows somewhat raised, “The trade of speaking with an accent?”

    “Aye lass.” Gala grinned towards Beatrix, causing her to roll her eyes and look towards Edge, who had sat somewhat motionless since accepting the mission. Mikoto followed Beatrix’s line of sight and beat her to the punch,

    “You okay, Edge?”

    “Yeah,” Beatrix added, “You seem a bit iffy.”

    Edge shuffled in his seat and spoke, “I’m fine, just pondering all that you’ve said. These… angels, you don’t’ think they exist, do you?”

    “I don’t really know anymore Edge,” Beatrix said, recounting what Sage had told her, “Sage told me some strange things, like, he said he’s seen these ‘angels’ before they actually… well appear, as angels. He’s said he’s seen them as regular human beings. That’s not all either, he also said that in the three to six years before an angel appears, well, something… happens, an event, something that to one person might be said to be a catastrophe… something that emotionally changes a person happens.” As the final sentence emerged from her lips, Beatrix averted her gaze from Edge to Gala, who looked back at her and raised his eyebrows. There was a moment of silence.

    “The 99th floor.” were the words, spoken by an old voice, which broke the silence the room had fallen into. Sage stood at the doorway, the familiar twinkle within the black abyss of his pupils ever-present as the four members of reach turned to look at him.

    “The 99th floor?” Mikoto finally replied.

    “Yes Mikoto my dear. The 99th floor.”

    Gala looked at sage and cocked his head, “The 99th floor of what?”

    “Ah Gala my boy,” Sage answered, “The 99th floor of the building upon which everything that this city has become rests – the Planetist headquarters.”

    “What are you saying Sage?” Beatrix asked, looking somewhat concerned.

    “The angel research centre.” Came the voice of Edge, breaking into Sage’s reply.

    “That’s correct Edge,” said Sage, “have you told everyone yet?”

    “No.”

    “Told us what?” Asked Mikoto and Gala in unison.

    “Before… I joined Reach, before the life I lead now, I worked for the Planetists.” There was a moment of silence following Edge’s words, before he resumed speaking. “When I was nineteen, I worked on the 99th floor. It’s up there, that they research the angels. The floor is split into three areas, two areas are focal labs, and the third area is completely restricted, guarded by stationary guns and several floor traps, or, it was when I was there. I worked in one of the laboratories, event research on the angels, studying relics that they left behind. No real properties were ever found about them, and it was concluded that when the time was right, the relics would activate automatically. Or, that was how the religious standpoint took it. The scientific standpoint… being Planetists themselves… well, you see where it went.” Edge paused once more, before speaking a final sentence, “The 99th floor is where we need to go, if we’re to find anything about these angels.”

    “Wait a minute Edge,” Gala interjected, “why don’t you work for the planetists anymore?”

    “Because it’s my personal life, and I don’t like talking about my past.”

    “Was just asking, chill.” Gala said, shrugging and sitting back once more in his chair. Beatrix was transfixed upon Edge,

    “How come you never told me any of this Edge?”

    “There was never any need to Beatrix.”

    “I’d still rather have known!”

    “Why? What does it change? When you know doesn’t matter, now you know, and the time that you know is right.”

    “It’s beside the point!” Beatrix cried, “I fucking trusted you!”

    “You can still trust me,” Edge replied, remaining ever calm, “I swear upon my soul as you know it that there is now nothing that Reach does not know about me.”

    Sage, Mikoto and Gala all sat silently, as Beatrix stood shaking, her hands clenched into fists so tight that Mikoto was afraid her knuckles might burst through her skin at any moment. Edge sat as calm as ever, his eyes fixed upon Beatrix. It was sometime before any further action was made, but it eventually came in the form of Mikoto’s words.

    “Beatrix, look at it this way, what was once impossible doesn’t seem to be that impossible now. Just be happy we know a little bit more than we did previously, and hey, he did swear you know everything now, right? Relax. Caring is a bit weird for you anyway.”

    “You’re right… for now.” Beatrix said flatly, “We need to work out how we get up 99 floors of the most secure building in the city.”

    “Actually, we need to go up to floor 126, and then take an elevator down to the 99th floor.” Edge said.

    “Peachy,” Beatrix replied, “Just… peachy.”

    End of chapter 008.
    Last edited by PLANES CURE TOWERS; 6th September 2006 at 10:14 PM.

  13. #13
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    That Edge was previously involved with the Planetists was an interesting revelation. On the one hand, that prior experience might prove to be of a fair amount of usefulness to Reach in the long run, but on the other hand, I can’t help but wonder just a little bit if he’s really left all those ties in the past. His unwillingness to talk about what led him to depart the Planetists leads me to suspect two things: one, he’s concealing an allegience to the Planetists that he never really left behind; or two, something terrible happened to make him split from those people, so terrible that he would rather not speak of it. Of course, it might be for other reasons altogether—maybe he just didn’t want Gala’s nose in his business there. At any rate, though, I’m presently largely inclined to trust Edge.

    Also, the interaction between some of the characters was just terrific in this chapter, specifically the dialogue and actions between Gala and Mary and between Gala and Mikoto.

    Favorite moments:

    “What the hell!? I’m just trying to cheer you up, Christ.” Mary’s frown quickly turned into a smile, “How’s this then, Gala? Turn around.”

    Gala moved his head from the arm and turned to face Mary, before she jumped on top of him and started kissing him.
    XD Beautiful.

    “Right then!” Beatrix proceeded, “Now all we need to do is work out how we’re going to do this.”

    “It’s impossible Cap’n, we’ll never make it!” Exclaimed Gala, a hint of an Irish accent playing across his words.

    “And since when were you an Irishman Gala?” Replied Mikoto,

    “Ar, it be doon two year ago when I met Agnus Mcleary, he taught me the trick of the trade!”

    “The trade of what?” Beatrix responded, her eyebrows somewhat raised, “The trade of speaking with an accent?”

    “Aye lass.”
    That part made me laugh; it was just so unexpected and funny. XD
    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK
    (Or do. I don't actually mind.)
    The Origin of Storms | Communication

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh
    Spanks for the reviews guys, I'll take into considerationt hat my proofreading needs to be a bit more intricate. :[
    lol the irony.

    Chapter 007 (lol 007): Overall it was alright. At the end of it, I was hoping someone would come in the room where Mary was, to kidnap Mitoko, yet it turned out to be Beatrix who just didn't do anything What else can I say really? Not much happened in terms of plot material; more so character development. As I said before, it's about time you did that D: Especially considering I still get confused about whose who.

    Especially when the characters are speaking with one another. You need to clearly distinguish whose who. Sometimes I find myself constantly reading the conversations the characters have, whilst wondering who said what half the time. Nonetheless, it was good. Well average Well written, but just average. Can't explain it really.

    Oh and;

    “Wait” Mary interjected, “Love? What is love!?”
    That would have made the chapter get +10 points!!

    Chapter 008: Preferred it to 007 I think. What did I like about it I hear you asking. Well I liked the fact that the big boys are finally coming out to find out about these "Angels". Liking the ambiguous stuff such as Edge having a mysterious background, along with Sage, creating a tension and raising the potential question regarding whether Sage and Edge can be trusted by the other members of Reach. Also, the fact that no one has any idea what these Angels actually are always creates some meaty tension.

    So yeah, I liked it.

    “Aye lass.” Gala grinned towards Beatrix
    Yeah, see, Irish people don't say "aye".

    I think a major twist with one of the members of Reach is what this story needs. Having something like that, after you've built up their character development very well so far, would make this story quite groundbreaking imo. So for example, one of them turning out to be an Angel and turning out to be evil or whatever.

    I love twists in stories ;o;

    Gj so far though Josh, despite me hating to read long paragraphs.
    The truth is that I'm a bad person. But, that's gonna change - I'm going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm gonna be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.

  15. #15
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    I like your character interaction better than I do mine... is that a bad thing? ^^;

    Anyways, this seems to be the beginning of a really kickass arc of chapters. Infiltration is always fun. Keep up the good work. And read my LJ, for Tape's sake!
    Gone.

    http://psiumbreon.livejournal.com/82372.html

  16. #16
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    I just do what I’m asked, he wants us to go break in, and we’ll give it a shot. I guess I’ll have to go downstairs and mull it over with the guys though…”
    The first comma should be a period.
    Gala moved his head from the arm and turned to face Mary, before she jumped on top of him and started kissing him.
    The sentence does not completely make sense. Basically the part where it says "before" is what makes it so confusing.
    I thought we were best friends?”
    How is that a question?
    “And since when were you an Irishman Gala?” Replied Mikoto,
    If this is a different world, then what's ireland doing in there? Also, you ended the paragraph in a comma.
    These… angels, you don’t’ think they exist, do you?”
    Extra apostrophe.
    That’s not all either, he also said that in the three to six years before an angel appears, well, something… happens, an event, something that to one person might be said to be a catastrophe… something that emotionally changes a person happens.”
    That's a bit of a run-on sentence, but the triple period kind of cancels that. I would consider revising anyway.
    When you know doesn’t matter, now you know, and the time that you know is right.”
    Run-on. Get rid of the first comma and put a period.

    One thing I noticed a lot was the fact that you put capitals at the beginning of a quotation right after the comma. When you use a comma you make it lower-case; when you use a period you make it captial. Simple as that.

    Anyway, this was a good chapter. I was short, yes, but necessary. You're doing a decent job on your shipping. No one is perfect with romance in their stories. You're doing a pretty good job with it considering. Your humor is good too. It fits well because this is not the kind of story where you use something like cheese. Not too much humor either. Good balance of a story you have here, is what I mean to say.

    I still don't understand why I can't remember who the characters are until I'm halfway thought the chapter.

  17. #17
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    Thankyou thankyou thankyou for the reviews guys, you have no idea how much they're appreciated, and I'm really glad you're all enjoying the story. Next chapter might be a little hard to understand on the first read through, but if you just pay attention to the time of day, you should get it.

    Regarding the Irish: Think of Charity as something like Earth. With all of our nationalities [plus extras, of course] and races. So for example like there will be people with an Irish accent, there would probably also be people with a British accent [example being the drug addict with what I tried to put across as a Scouse accent that takes Creed to the mob in Chapter 005]. So yeah, I guess that part is left up for your own thought to decide upon really though.

    Also, although I figure I shoulda done this earlier, let me know if you want me to PM you whenever I post up a new chapter, and I'll make sure that I do so.

    I feel as though I've dragged on a bit, and well, major event, as it were, happens now, eheh. Enjoy!

    -Josh
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    Chapter 009: (The girl that had) Stockholm syndrome I

    Hydrus stood atop the Planetist building, a good half mile above the city. A light rain fell upon his face as the breeze filtered through his hair, causing it to almost flow slightly. He checked his watch, which read that it was just after 4pm in the afternoon. Above him, the clouds were circling around the building, slowly climbing downwards into the lower atmosphere of Charity. As time passed, Hydrus remained silent upon the rooftop, standing almost like a Gargoyle statue that had been there since the construction of the building. The clouds began to encircle the Planetist building, and formed an impenetrable storm around the upper parts of the headquarters.

    Behind him, the doors to the rooftop opened up, and out stepped Professor Caroll, her lab coat picking up in the light breeze. Underneath she wore a black vest top and what appeared to be shorts. She walked over to Hydrus briskly, looking briefly into the air before averting her gaze once more to the leader of the Planetists. She rolled her eyes at the dramatic pose the old man had taken to mark the coming of the new Angel, and stood beside him.

    “Must you make a show Hydrus? You know as well as I do that the angels aren’t what the people are led to believe they are.”

    “Of course I must make a show Professor! For if I don’t then the drama cannot be felt! And what good is an Angel appearance without drama my dear?”

    “It’s a waste of money to send them into the sky, only to fall back down to us… we can get them to activate in other ways, you know.”

    “Silence Professor.” Hydrus’ voice had become sharp and final, “regardless of what the Angels are, they are still miracles in their own right, and deserve the attention we give them.”

    “Yes well, I feel you’ll be giving this Angel all the attention it truly deserves. I’ll be in 99 if you want me.”

    “Won’t you stay? Look to the stars now my dear! He is upon us! I wonder what he shall name himself…”

    The Professor went to open her mouth, but as she formed the words in her throat she was interrupted by a blinding flash of light above her. The clouds all at once parted and what looked like a flaming red meteor was careening around in the clouds, steadily moving towards the building. The creature flew above the heads of the Professor and Hydrus several times, before landing with a force powerful enough to cause a good percentage of the roof to form cracks within its surface. The door to the rooftop of the building opened once more and Creed stepped out, followed by a young, slender woman with blonde hair and lightning blue eyes that seemed to reflect the daylight. And so it was that the four Planetists leaders laid eyes upon the greatest Angel to ever be conceived together upon his entry to Charity.

    At first the angel was nothing more than a bright white light, that shone from the top of the Planetist headquarters for all of Solar to behold, but as the light began to fade, it seemed to reform itself into the figure of a smartly dressed man. His hair was long and combed back, which allowed for his sharp piercing eyes to be the centre of attention on his face. The eyes ran deep, and were black as coal. Creed had often tried to describe the eyes of the Angel, long after he had first bore witness to it.

    “Of all that struck me, it had been the eyes that caught my attention most. They were black as the pits of hell you scared your children with when they were small, as to stop them misbehaving, and yet they were as light as that promise you gave them for good behaviour. Something within those portals into the abyss shone brilliantly, and though you could only see it for a split second after much concentration, it set the Angel apart from all others, they were an amazing sight to behold, the eyes of that Angel.”

    The Angel’s face was clean shaven, and long, slim as it were. His chin came round perfectly, and was a compliment to the rest of his perfectly formed face. Upon his torso he wore a jet black suit, with a red, silk shirt, complete with a black tie. His pants were much the same as the suit, and his shoes were brilliantly shined. To anyone who didn’t know better, the Angel would have looked like an extremely well off businessman.

    “Welcome to the Planet charity my son!!” cried Hydrus in sheer joy at the creation that stood before him and the other Planetists leaders. He stood surveying the Angel before speaking once more, “I hope you will show us many new things, and restore the faith of the Planetist faction that has been dwindling in recent years once more! Tell me my son, what is your name?”

    The Angel stood staring deep into the eyes of Hydrus, studying him carefully from head to toe, and at last raising his eyebrows, and forming a grin across his face. After a time he spoke, “my name is Carbine. What are yours?” he asked, motioning around to the other three Planetists, as well as Hydrus.

    “Carbine! What a wonderful name, yes… Carbine is an excellent name indeed!” Hyrdus raised his hands and a smile once more spread across his face, he then slowly lowered his arms and motioned first to Creed, “This, Carbine, is Creed, my most trusted of all generals of the Planetist army! Stood behind him is my daughter, Princess of the Planetists, Andromeda! And stood alone towards the doorway is the woman responsible for all that you are, my most trusted Professor, Miss Caroll J. Holly.”

    Carbine stood surveying the other three Planetist leaders for several moments. Creed was dressed in his usual black attire, his crimson scimitar hung from his waist. Behind him, the Princess Andromeda smiled and bowed lightly. Carbine spent the most of his time looking at the Professor, who seemed to stare into his eyes as calmly as anyone else’s, she was the only one of the four that had managed to stand his gaze for longer than a few seconds. Hydrus seemed to think she had gave a slight nod towards the angel, and then to himself, however he ignored it, thinking of it as nothing but a greeting. At length Hydrus spoke once more.

    “Now Carbine, allow me to explain what we require you to do for us, it’ll” but he was cut off in mid-sentence by Professor Caroll,

    “I’m afraid that Carbine doesn’t really care what he’s supposed to do, if you’re the one telling him, that is.” As she spoke, a small smile seemed to creep over her lips, and she walked slowly towards Creed and Andromeda, separating herself from Hydrus through moving so that Carbine was between them both.

    “What?” Hydrus spoke, “what do you mean, Professor?”

    “She means,” Creed interjected, “that the time of Hydrus is at an end, and a new leader of our faction has been born today.”

    A look of horror spread across Hydrus’ face, and he felt his entire body begin to grow tense, his eyes darted to the people stood facing him, until they came at rest onto his daughter, Andromeda, and he swallowed a lump in his throat before speaking once more. “Andromeda, my dear sweet daughter, did you know of this… treachery?”

    “Yeah, I knew all about it, and truth be told father,” a light shone in Andromeda’s eyes, “I supported it through to the end, which just happens to be today!”

    Hydrus stood for a moment, and felt a million thoughts race through his mind, slowly but surely, he began to regain his composure, shaking his head and forming a smile before once more allowing himself to speak, “You think you can take me down with an Angel? Have my own fellow leaders and even my own daughter overlooked the greatness that is I? Hydrus, the leader of the greatest faction to ever exist upon Charity, no, not just Charity, but in the entire galaxy!” Hydrus’ voice began to increase in volume, and intensity as he spoke, “if you plan on taking me from my existence, unfathomable by all means to you, and greater than any God’s, then you won’t be given an easy task!” he shouted, and seemed to grow in size, and power. Above him, storm clouds began to crackle, and before anyone came to see it happen, a great storm had risen from sleep above their heads, and rain had began to lash down upon the rooftops of Solar once more.

    “So this is the power of my father…” Andromeda said, her eyes filled with thought and awe, as the rain became a furious torrent. Creed and the Professor stood smiling at the show they had finally set up, Creed spoke at length “Let the fun begin my dears.”

    The three turned tail and entered the building once more, leaving Hydrus and Carbine stood alone on the roof. They entered the observation deck, which held its place underneath a large clock tower. Creed looked up at the magnificent architecture of the tower and saw that it was barely 4:30pm. The three stood at the window, enabling their vision of the battle that was about to unfurl. They were soon joined by many employees, all curious to see what the sudden commotion was about. Hydrus and Carbine stood face to face, an enormous power coursing through the veins of them both, while just underneath them, in the confines of the building, four familiar faces, and one unfamiliar, had just entered the 130th floor of the Planetist headquarters.

    ***
    Gala awoke to the obnoxious sound of his alarm clock, and saw that it was just a minute after 3am. He groaned and shut the alarm off, turning over in his bed and pulling the covers up over his face. The meeting the night before had decided that today was the day of the infiltration, and they had decided to make their attack in the extreme earliness of the morning. To Gala, all that meant was that all the members of Reach had to miss out on an extravagant party in the club, to celebrate the birthday of one of the regulars, as they had to turn in as soon as their meeting was over. Moments after Gala had shut off his alarm, Beatrix stood in the doorway and blew a foghorn, causing Gala to jump out of bed faster than a bullet and fall in a heap on the floor, groaning once again.

    “Morning Gala!” She exclaimed cheerfully, and walked out of the room, hoping that she was able to give Mikoto a similar call, the sight of Gala falling out of bed like that had lifted her spirits greatly. To her surprise, and also dismay, she found Mikoto already up and dressed, sitting on her bed and tying the laces in her shoes. Beatrix flicked back her hair and rolled her eyes,

    “You’re always ruining my fun Mikoto, you know that?” Mikoto just laughed and shrugged her shoulders,

    “Yeah well, I wouldn’t want you doing that kind of thing to me anyway, that was cruel Bea.”

    Beatrix just laughed and walked out of the room, allowing Mikoto to finish dressing. Edge was already in the club area of Reunion, drinking out of his flask as always. He nodded to Beatrix as she walked into the light of the bar, and sat down. She was dressed in a sky-blue vest top, and jeans that stopped at her ankles. Edge looked at her uneasily before speaking, “what’s with the clothes? You’re going on a mission, not a picnic.” Beatrix just laughed and shrugged, her spirits were aloft and the vision of Gala being frightened out of bed was still fresh in her mind. At length she spoke,

    “I was going to wear the usual attire, but then I figured that considering this was going to be a long mission, I’d probably get a bit uncomfortable in it, so I dressed casually, I think it makes a nice change.”

    “Leather would have been more appropriate Beatrix.” Edge replied.

    “You’re just as much a pervert as Gala at heart, aren’t you?” She answered back, before walking out of the bar and back upstairs. Edge sat for a moment contemplating a reply, but the only thing he could come up with was a profanity, that as far as he was concerned, wasn’t worth the thought of anyway.

    Eventually, the members of Reach were prepared for the mission and ready to leave. Gala was in his usual clothes, the custom jeans he always wore, and his favourite white jacket, that had recently picked up a nice crosshatch pattern. Mikoto had claimed he looked like a fashion disaster, but Gala shrugged it off, he liked what he liked. Mikoto had dressed herself in much the same fashion as Beatrix, and Edge was, as always, in his Black coat and hat, with the jet black sunglasses covering his eyes. The clock struck 3:30am and reach left Reunion.

    They walked silently through the perpetually busy streets of Solar, making their way once more to the Northern Central station. Cars drove past as they always did, and the street lamps above their heads illuminated the path through the streets with a stale orange glow. Before long they had reached the station and had entered, the familiar artificial glow of the ceiling clock (3:45am) illuminated the entire place. Homeless people stirred in their sleeping places, but none woke up. Gala looked up at the train timer, the next was due – they were right on time. Plan’s going alright so far, but then again we’re only in the opening stages… eheh. Gala thought to himself, advancing into the middle of the station's interior.

    The train roared into the station, and the companions boarded. Mikoto stood as she always did, in front of the map of the entire network. Beatrix and Edge sat in one of the seats, and Gala, as he always did on the trains of Solar, sat apart from the rest of the group and entered his own little world. Time seemed to pass with very little haste, and the train seemed to be taking a year and a day to get to the downtown district of Solar, but eventually the driver announced that they had completed their journey, and the next station was indeed, Grand Central.

    As they alighted, it was apparent that the journey had taken them exactly forty-five minutes, so the enormous clock, that had been swiftly repaired since the confrontation after Leonardo’s assassination took place, read out that it was now 4:30am. Twelve hours stood between reach and the battle between Carbine and Hydrus upon the rooftop of the Planetists Headquarters, although nobody knew of that event at this moment.

    Reach ran through the Downtown district. It was still around an hour or so until sunrise, however the streets were never silent, and it was as if it were daytime in downtown Solar. The stores were open, and there was life in every window. Solar was indeed the city that never slept, both in a literal and figurative sense. As reach ran, the Planetist tower grew larger and loomed above their heads. The impenetrable fortress that these four mercenaries were about to attempt a break in entry to.

    They reached the Northern entrance to the building after a long walk, and climbing up what seemed like a never ending staircase. Gala was last to reach the summit of the stair mountain, exclaiming loudly that he now understood why all of the employees of the Planetists’ were extremely fit. They entered the building and looked around them, their fingers twitching slightly, hovering above the hilt of their weapons. All that Beatrix had directed them to do was follow her, and not get lost. They walked over to the reception desk, and a young girl greeted them with a smile.

    “I’m sorry but visiting hours are only between the hours of 12noon and 12midnight, you’ll have to come back soon I’m afraid” she explained to the members of Reach. Beatrix looked doubtful already, and couldn’t believe they had overlooked this. It was now deemed necessary to cause a ruckus, and it was only just after 6am, getting to the headquarters from the station had taken longer than what was originally expected. Beatrix stood dumbfounded, until Gala quickly interjected,

    “We’re uh, here for maintenance!” he exclaimed, grinning, “yeah that’s it, maintenance!”

    The woman at the counter looked slightly puzzled for a moment and checked her monitor, noting that there were several maintenance checks to be held that day, either by sheer chance or fate. She issued the four of them with clearance cards and allowed their entry. The guards at the lift moved aside and let them inside.

    “I honestly… didn’t ever think that excuse worked…” said Gala after some time.

    “Neither did I, least of all in the ‘impenetrable fortress’ or whatever” laughed Mikoto.

    “Don’t be too hasty yet though, I mean, that was too easy. Almost... ah whatever, we made it through so far, let’s be happy!” replied Gala, causing the rest of Reach to nod in agreement. The lift carried on moving upwards, and the electronic counter eventually indicated that they had reached the 67th floor of the building. As the doors to the lift opened they found themselves face to face with at least 50 gun barrels. “Oh shitty” whimpered Gala, before everything went black…

    ***

    Mikoto awoke in a small, dank room. She had been stripped of everything but her clothes and watch. Looking around her she noticed that the cell was locked with a large electric current in place of the door that licked dangerously into the room every now and then. She also noted a small, sleeping girl that she seemed to share her hold with. Sitting down against the wall, she imagined that her companions were also being held in cells not unlike this one. She looked once more at the girl, and saw that her face was covered in freckles, and her hair was tousled and a fair brown colour. She was wearing a red shirt with no particular design, and deep blue shorts that came to her knees. In her hand she held a small white bear that seemed to have the thread where its mouth would be missing, as was noted by a small indent created by the thread when it once existed. Around her neck Mikoto saw a small pendant, and realised that it bore striking resemblance to her own. She drew hers out and looked upon it. It was small, silver, and with two letters that she couldn’t quite make out engraved upon it.

    She leaned over to the girl and took the pendant in her hand, and her own in her other hand, and sat looking at them both very carefully. The design of the two was exactly the same, and they both had the unclear engraving upon them. Mikoto shook her head and set herself back down against the wall, staring up at the unknown ceiling. Her mind drifted to what had become of her companions, and where they were. There she sat, for what seemed like an eternity, until the small girl stirred and awoke, blinking softly and staring at Mikoto. Mikoto looked blankly back, not looking at the girl, but not looking away from her either.

    “Who are you pretty lady?” the girl eventually asked. Mikoto maintained her blank look until the question registered in her brain,

    “I’m not a pretty lady, that’s for sure.” Mikoto said with a small sigh, “I’m Mikoto. Nice to meet you uhh…?”

    “Prude! And you are pretty! You have a nice name too!” the small girl exclaimed with a smile.

    “Prude huh? Nice… how old are you?”

    “Six! I’m a big girl and don’t you forget it!” Prude replied, maintaining her broad smile, Mikoto noticed a small gap between her two front teeth.

    “I never said… never mind.” Mikoto shook her head, “what are you doing here in a place like this?”

    “This is my home! Isn’t it cosy?”

    “Not really the word I’d use to describe it, but sure thing kiddo. How long have you been here?”

    “I don’t know… since I was little I think. I only see my mummy once a week.”

    “Your… mommy?” Mikoto asked,

    “Yeah! She’s really nice, she’s a professor!” Prude replied with a large grin, “and really pretty too! I’ll always protect my mummy and never leave her alone!”

    “That’s… cool. I mean really. Anyway, do you know of how to get out of here?” Mikoto asked, a slightly puzzled expression at the girl’s delight of her situation spreading across her face,

    “Why would you want to do a silly thing like that?” Prude asked, cocking her head slightly, “Big pretty girls are so weird… oh well!” With that, Prude turned from Mikoto and began to play with her bear. Mikoto motioned her lips to speak, but no words came; only confusion filled her mind. Her thoughts drifted back to what had happened since they came into the headquarters. The last thing she remembered was their entry being really easy, and then it went black after a loud cracking noise.

    As she sat, Mikoto thought she could hear a storm rising outside, and a faint crack of thunder could be heard, rippling through the confines of wherever she was. Several guards went rushing past, shouting out about something on the rooftop. Mikoto stood and walked over to the electric fence that barred the doorway.

    “I wouldn’t touch that if I wear you!” Prude suddenly said, causing Mikoto to jump and turn around.

    “I figured” Mikoto replied, but as she did, the lights of the building seemed to dim out, and the electric barrier gave way. Mikoto stepped out into the corridor outside her cell, and looking up and down she saw that the other four members of Reach were at last making an appearance. Down the bottom of the hallway a clock read out that it was just after 4:20pm in the afternoon. They had all spent the best part of the day in the cell, and hadn’t found out anything in regards to the angels. All they had accomplished was a huge slip up.

    “Wonder what’s going on upstairs?” shouted Gala to the rest of Reach. Mikoto turned to look at Prude, who had stood up herself. She looked up at Mikoto,

    “What if mummy is in trouble pretty lady?” she asked, a hint of fear tainting her voice.

    “Lets go find out what’s going on alright Prude?” Mikoto replied, stretching her arm out and allowing the young girl to take hold of her hand. They stepped out into the corridor, as the lights flickered on and off, and the storm began to resonate through the air once more, increasing in volume as the claps of thunder rolled overhead. The other members of Reach gave the child a funny look as Mikoto led her towards the group.

    “Who’s the kid Mikoto?” Gala eventually asked, bending his knees so his face became level with Prude’s. As he did so Prude hid behind Mikoto’s leg, and peeped around at Gala.

    “Her name is Prude, don’t know why she’s here, or how she got here, but she’s here nonetheless, and apparently some professor in this building is her mum, so yeah” Mikoto replied, then she looked down at Prude, who was still hiding behind her, and spoke softly, “It’s alright Prude, these are my friends, they won’t do anything bad.” As the words left Mikoto’s lips a shot of confidence entered Prude and she stepped out, smiling at Beatrix, Edge and Gala. They all smiled back, save for Edge, who looked solemn as he always did.

    Beatrix spoke after a moment, “we haven’t got our weapons… what now?”

    “This is the 129th floor, above us is storage and the Guard quarters, and then above that the roof.” Edge replied, “we should head up, if our weapons are anywhere, they’re there.”

    “Alright! Lets rock and roll then!” shouted Gala, and dashed off towards the stairwell at the far end of the corridor, before the rest of Reach swiftly followed. They passed a small clock at the entrance to the staircase; its face read that it was just after 4:25pm, and as they ascended, the storm above their heads grew ever louder. They reached the top of the staircase and hesitated briefly before peering outwards. The final floor of the Planetist headquarters was a corridor not unlike the one below them. They walked along, passing several store rooms. In the sixth room they found their weapons and gear lying on a small table, with several chairs situated around it. One of the chairs had been stained with blood recently, and on the table in front of the chair Gala’s two guns were placed, looking as innocent as a gun could hope to be.

    “Gotta love that security mechanism, it’s the shit, I swear!” Gala exclaimed with a grin, as he picked up his weapons and swung them on his fingers momentarily before placing them in their holsters. The rest of the members of Reach smiled at the thought of what had happened when the unfortunate guard had picked up the weapons and had his hands wiped out by the security blades situated in the guns handle. Once they had picked up their own weapons they left the room and continued along the corridor, eventually reaching the stairwell separating them from the safe confines of the building and the epic battle that was about to take place upon the roof of the Planetist Headquarters.

    They climbed swiftly, as the voices of approaching guards echoed through the corridor from whence they came, and as Edge stepped up the first stair of the stairwell, he turned to look down the corridor once more and saw the head of two guards entering the floor from the opposite stairwell. He embarked on his ascent, catching up with the rest of reach and before long finding level ground once more. They had now reached a fork in their path, another flight of stairs with a small signpost that read “observation deck” or a path to a doorway on their right. They opted for the staircase and climbed up the few steps and opened the door, before realising they had intruded on what looked like a tremendous gathering of Planetists. Gala spotted Creed next to the window, stood beside what he thought were two very attractive women. He grinned and went to step forward, however as he did so Prude broke free of Mikoto’s hold and called out to the professor.

    “Mummy!” the small girl cried, and tripped over herself. The guards moved in on her however they soon stepped back as Professor Caroll picked her up and carried her away. Creed turned and saw the members of Reach staring back at him, a small smile spread across his face before he spoke.

    “Come over my friends! The fun is about to begin! You’re about to see a reformation beyond your wildest dreams! And by stroke of luck or by sheer fate, you have front row seats! Settle in now, and pay attention!”

    Reach made their way, feeling somewhat uneasy by the sudden kindness, if it could be called so, displayed by whom they thought would be their greatest adversary. Looking out of the observation window they saw the Angel, Carbine and the fabled Planetist leader, Hydrus, stood face to face, with the terrible storm raging around them both. Gala was continually distracted by Andromeda, as she was by he, and both of them missed the first seconds of the fight outside. Beatrix and Edge shifted uneasily, where Mikoto stared out into the bleak gray haven that was the rooftop of the Planetist headquarters.

    Hydrus shouted to Carbine, and his voice boomed with a tremendous power and will, “come at me, fell Angel, and I’ll show you the true power of a Planetist leader!” Carbine looked down and away from Hydrus, which seemed to irritate the Planetist more than anything else, and he launched his assault.

    A white hot blast of energy erupted from the hand of Hydrus, which almost blinded the observers. Hydrus grinned and loosened the energy from his hand, however as he did so Carbine erupted from the blast, and before Hydrus knew what had happened, the Angel had let loose a full assault on him like no other he had ever felt, or bore witness to.

    The flurry of punches and the speed at which they hit was second only to that of light, and Hydrus felt himself being pushed backwards by each punch, as it exploded into his body. As quickly as it had started the assault stopped, and Carbine pulled back from the leader momentarily, allowing Hydrus to cough up something incredibly foul tasting and thick into his mouth. He spat out the substance - blood. Carbine spat a small ball of spit and launched a fresh attack; however Hydrus was this time prepared, and jumped swiftly out of the way, before crashing down onto the Angel with another white hot energy flash. He dived from where he had jumped and almost could be said to have been flying. His fist met with Carbine's face and caused the angel to crash down to the floor. Several areas of the roof felt the severity of the hit and crumbled down into the abyss.

    “Is he one of your creations, Professor?” Edge asked, looking away from the fight and towards Professor Caroll. She looked back at him and studied him for a moment in wonder, before answering,

    “Yes. My finest work, I must say. You are?” She asked, but Edge turned away and nodded his head towards the fight once more, which turned her attention back outside.

    Carbine had regained himself and stood up, and looked completely unhurt. Hydrus smiled at him and launched another energy blast towards him, however Carbine suddenly disappeared from the spot and reappeared almost instantaneously behind Hydrus, pulling him backwards and hanging them both over the edge of the Planetist building. Hydrus felt himself turned upside down and looking into a grey abyss. Nothingness was below him, until after half a mile of falling, where he would meet stone cold concrete. The world became suddenly quiet, as the storm above seemed to lessen, and the rain turned from torrential into drizzle. Then, moments later, the world seemed to rush by, as if a strong wind had picked up, and Hydrus closed his eyes to the world around him.

    End of Chapter 009.
    Last edited by PLANES CURE TOWERS; 15th September 2006 at 1:16 AM.

  18. #18

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    Best chapter yet imo. Yes it was long, and yes I hate reading things that are long, but I liked certain aspects of this chapter.

    I've noticed that sometimes you fail to make a new line for when a new person is speaking, and thus just keep it in the same paragraph where the narrator is telling the story. As for the time thing, yeah it was a bit confusing, but I understood what was happening when.

    Not much else to say really, except I think I found it to be the best chapter because this chapter pinpoints and nails key aspects to the plot. I mean, you didn't faff around with unnecessary and pointless conversations to get the readers lolling, like you did in some of the previous chapters. Also, the other chapters tended to have a lot of speech, and I preferred this one because there was less of it occurring. When there was, it was more or less significant in that it related to the plot in one way or another.

    So yeah, this chapter was easy to read because I liked it.
    The truth is that I'm a bad person. But, that's gonna change - I'm going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm gonna be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.

  19. #19
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    A most interesting development, eh? All right, this chapter was pretty long by your usual standards. But I can see why you came out with it so fast. It must have been fun to write.

    Anyways, a new leader of the Planetists, eh? Poor Hydrus... oh well he's a bad guy anyways. He sux. I actually feel sorry for that Prude... I know that's why you put that in there, to add a touch of sadness... and it's effective
    Gone.

    http://psiumbreon.livejournal.com/82372.html

  20. #20
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    I'd say the main thing that stood out for me in this one was Carbine. Carbine was... o_o Yeah. From they way he was described, he seems cool-looking, nice and classy, and the way his eyes were spoken of was particularly neat. And the battle between him and Hydrus in the raging storm was equally boss, a great note on which to end a chapter.

    Also, the security mechanisms on Gala's weapons do indeed kick ***. ^^

    Oh, and there's one more little event that happened that I must highlight...

    Moments after Gala had shut off his alarm, Beatrix stood in the doorway and blew a foghorn, causing Gala to jump out of bed faster than a bullet and fall in a heap on the floor, groaning once again.
    XD
    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK
    (Or do. I don't actually mind.)
    The Origin of Storms | Communication

  21. #21
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    I'm really glad you enjoyed the last chapter guys, you have no idea how fun it was to write. This was was a lot more fun though, as things are really really starting to fall into place, and my main ideas are finally fitting together really well. So I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I'm not going to mess around with the whole "blah blah foreword", so she's all yours!

    -Josh

    ------------------------------
    Chapter 010: Vendettas.

    Carbine turned from the roof edge after watching Hydrus fall into oblivion, and faced the observation deck. Professor Caroll stared back at her creation with an extremely satisfied look spread over her face, while a commotion had broken out between the employees of the Planetist Headquarters in the back reaches of the crowded room. The members of Reach looked around themselves very uneasily, as Creed went back to sort out the commotion. Gala had taken his eyes from the battlefield and Carbine, and had once more allowed them to take place upon the face of Andromeda. Edge had also done something similar, however his eyes were upon the Professor, and his head was swimming with questions and thoughts about the events of the day. Beatrix and Mikoto both stood still, staring outside at Carbine. Above, all of the clouds that had gathered around Solar had seemed to have completely dispersed, and the skies were clear blue. After a few minutes, Creed stood beside them both and smiled, before motioning for Gala and Edge to come over.

    “You’re lucky, you know. Really lucky. You just got to see the beginning of a new age!” Creed laughed as he finished the sentence, Reach stood motionless, wondering what exactly was about to happen in this ‘new age.’ Eventually, Edge broke the silence.

    “A new age of what?” he asked, “a new age of the Planetists ruling this city like they always have?”

    “Haha! No my dear Edge,” Creed paused after mentioning his name; a glint seemed to appear in his eyes, “an age of prosperity for the whole planet! Soon our faith hood will expand across the ocean, even to the reaches of High Charity! Yes, Solar has been busy for the past Century, perfecting ourselves, waiting… Hydrus did us very well in his rule as our leader, alas, he was too old fashioned, and had no ideas beyond the reaches of Zodiac, and even then his ideas were very flawed!”

    “Hang on a second,” Gala interjected, “Hydrus is the guy responsible for that wasteland of a city down there? He’s responsible for the martial law, the over-commercialisation, and the crime rates? All of that is his fault? The fact the people down there can’t live in peace because of each other, it’s his entire fault?”

    “Easy Gala, Jesus. It would take years to sort Solar out of the mess it’s found itself in now anyway, there’s not much he could have done” Mikoto replied, before returning her gaze back to Creed. Gala shook his head and twisted his face as he looked out of the window. Carbine was still stood in the same spot, looking out over the city.

    “It would have taken nothing Mikoto” Creed replied, “unfortunately, Hydrus didn’t really care, he was content with the fact faith in planetism was at a high, and he was content with the people living the way they did, because regardless of what they had, he had much more, he, and indeed all of the faction, were content and happy.” Creed sighed and looked down to the ground, placing his hand over the hilt of his Scimitar, and looking back up at the members of Reach.

    Edge shuffled in the spot and looked into the eyes of Creed before rejecting the claims, “I don’t think so.”

    “What do you mean Edge?” Creed smiled, “surely you knew Hydrus? You were an employee here until it became obvious you were dangerous!”

    “Dangerous? I was forced into what I had done and then rejected for it in case the people revolted! What about him?” Edge flared up suddenly, and though nothing was visible, something seemed to change within him.

    “What about him? Carbine? Ah yes, well, would you rather it were you in your position now? Hm?” Creed was gaining great delight in how confused the members of Reach were becoming at the argument that was unfolding between their friend and himself.

    “No. Nor would I like anyone to be in the positions you have put us in. They’re uncalled for and unnecessary. What you do is inhumane!” Edge rose evermore from his spot, and to Mikoto it seemed like a new fierce energy had awakened within him, whatever it was, Edge was doing very well to hide it, as there was nothing except a feeling that was being shown. Professor Caroll and Prude walked over and stood alongside Creed, to see what the unfurling episode was about.

    “Calm down Edge.” Professor Caroll interjected, "You know fine well it’s not something to tr- Hello, what’s your name there?” she asked, looking directly at Gala.

    “Who me?” Gala responded, “Gala, why?”

    “Gala? Interesting...” Caroll paused for a moment before speaking once more, “Gala, do you have any parents?”

    “…no.” Gala answered, his head sinking and his gaze wandering to the floor.

    “Why not?”

    “My parents… were killed, a few years ago.”

    Caroll smiled and shrugged her shoulders, satisfied with the answer she had been given, and stood behind Creed, whispering something in his ear. At whatever the words were, Creed’s face lit up and he nodded, smiling at Gala.

    “Gala?” Creed asked, “would you like to know who murdered your parents?”

    Gala looked up, a look of sheer confusion spread across his face, Beatrix and Mikoto glanced sideways at Gala and then at Creed, Edge shifted uneasily and seemed to lose a lot of posture,

    “It was Edge, Gala. Edge… and Carbine. In an angel examination. We sent the two of them out to understand their personalities as humans and then ultimately decide who was to become our angel.” Creed said, his face seeming to fall, however a look of triumph was visible in his eyes.

    “It wasn’t me...” Edge replied, “It was Carbine.”

    Gala stood motionless, registering what Creed had just said over and over in his mind. Beatrix and Mikoto looked up at Edge and stepped backwards in amazement at what had just been revealed. Edge turned to look at Beatrix, and although the glasses he wore hid it, tears were in his eyes and a look of agony was within their depths. Beatrix looked directly at him, standing motionless and mouthing words that never came.

    “Beatrix…” Edge trailed, “you have to believe me… you did once…”

    Beatrix gave a distressed sigh and looked over to Gala before resuming her gaze upon Edge, “I believed you when you told me you were framed for murder… but you were framed for murder of the parents of the boy you work with?”

    “Look at how many times I’ve done all I can to protect him, remember our fight with the creatures in the bar? Who was it that was almost killed to protect him?” Edge replied, the distress becoming apparent in his voice, “Beatrix, Mikoto… Gala, you must believe that it wasn’t me that did that crime.”

    “It’s in our records that you did!” Caroll broke in, “I have them right here.” She passed the papers to Beatrix, who looked down on them and read out loud;

    ‘NAME: Edge Hunagok.
    STATUS: Exile.
    REASON: Level 18 murder.’

    “It wasn’t me.” Edge repeated, his voice becoming firm and final. “It was Carbine. He was the more suitable of the two of us to become an angel, so they took him back and exiled me from the faction, blaming the entire thing on me. Like I told you, I was framed.”

    Beatrix went to speak but Gala spoke before her, “I believe him Beatrix.” Gala looked up and smiled at Edge, a new life taking its place within his eyes. He reached down and took his guns into hand. The ammo gauges were set to full, and he flicked the safety from both of them, before rising to his full height and looking out of the window. Edge looked at Gala and nodded, before removing his own weapon from its place within his attire. Mikoto went to draw her own sword but was stopped by Beatrix.

    “This is their fight Mikoto,” she said firmly, before looking up at Creed, who had raised his eyebrows at the actions of Gala and Edge, “ours is here.” Mikoto nodded and drew her weapon, the blue blade gleaming in the light of the sun filtering through the window. Beatrix followed fashion and drew out her sword, Eve, and placed it in her hand lightly. In the back reaches of the room, the sound of guns being loaded and held up ready to fire could be heard, however Creed motioned for them to be lowered.

    “Andromeda, take Caroll and the girl out of here, as well as the rest of the employees.” Creed said, and drew out his scimitar, the crimson blade ever glinting in all light that caught it. Gala and Edge ran out of the room and appeared seconds later on the rooftop, standing several feet away from Carbine. Beatrix and Mikoto looked up at Creed and grinned, before jumping at him with their weapons. As metal met metal the sound of gunshots could be heard outside, and the two fights had begun. Carrol stood at the door and looked back at Creed who had been pinned against the wall by Mikoto and Beatrix, before leaving the room.

    Outside, Edge and Gala had stood firmly rooted to the spot, shooting at Carbine. A cloud of dust had appeared around the angel and eventually the two friends had to ceasefire. The dust began to settle, and Carbine’s shadow appeared. Eventually he could be seen fully visible once more, stood firmly in the spot. Several tears had come across his body, and the bullets had left many a mark across his face and torso. Gala and Edge smiled at their results, before Carbine seemed to disappear entirely from the spot. A second later an explosion erupted from the observation deck, and Mikoto was flung out of the fray, landing hard on the rooftop and rolling towards Gala and Edge. Gala ran over to her and picked her up; a large gash had been placed across her cheek. Gala helped her to her feet and she brushed herself down, before the three ran back to the fight that had now began between Beatrix and Creed. Carbine was still missing in action.

    “You’re good Beatrix; you’d make a nice addition to what we’re planning next!” Creed laughed, as he brought Beatrix down to the ground with a stroke of his sword that had been stopped in mid air by Eve. Beatrix forced Creed to jump back from standing over her and took to her feet once more, before charging into another assault at the Planetist.

    “Unfortunate that I don’t deal with people like you then isn’t it Creed?” she replied, knocking him back against the wall and brushing her sword along the ground and up at him, catching his chin and causing a small gash to appear, and a trickle of blood to run down his neck. She jumped back and smiled, before a force clashed the back of her head and she fell to the floor, dropping her sword.

    Mikoto, Gala and Edge barraged into the room and opened up a fresh assault on Creed and Carbine, who had landed the blow seconds ago on Beatrix, and was now stood over her. Edge cornered Creed and Mikoto and Gala swept themselves into Carbine, causing the angel to fall back from standing over Beatrix, who was recovering from the surprise blow and slowly lifting herself from the floor with one hand while massaging her head with the other. Gala jumped around like a maniac, landing bullets into Carbine whenever the chance rose it’s head, and Mikoto continued to slice and dice everywhere the angel moved to. Edge pinned Creed up against the wall with his gun and leaned towards his face, however Creed head butted him and caused him to take a step or two backwards before he recovered himself. In that few seconds Creed had picked up his scimitar and was bringing it close down onto Edge, Beatrix jumped from the floor with her sword in hand towards the attack but before she reached it Creeds scimitar was thrown out of his hand and landed across the side of the room, a severed hand attached to the hilt of the blade. Creed screamed and looked around the room holding his bleeding wrist with his other hand, Gala had nailed a direct hit and shot his hand clean off.

    “Gala don’t stand there looking smug!” Edge shouted, but Carbine crashed down onto the teenager and sent him down into the floor of the observation deck, knocking him out cold. Creed began to panic, and ran out of the room, clutching his bleeding wrist and trying to stop the flow of blood. Mikoto ran over to his scimitar and picked it up, taking it in her other hand. Creeds blood had washed over it, but she didn’t see it as anything more than an inconvenience. Both she and Beatrix launched an attack on Carbine, with Mikoto using her own sword as well as Creed’s scimitar. Edge ran over to Gala and tried to awaken then teenager, however a heavy cut had taken its place across his head and was bleeding quite heavily. Gala still had both of his guns firmly in hand. Mikoto and Beatrix continued their assault on Carbine, however it was becoming evident that the two were tiring, and the angel held strong. Edge reached into the confines of his jacket and pulled out a small vial of a transparent liquid, and poured it over Gala’s wound. Gala stirred immediately and swore loudly, dropping his guns and placing his hand over where Edge had poured the concoction. The wound closed up immediately and, although Gala still had a splitting headache, it was like it wasn’t ever there.

    “Well, considering I now need at least a drug the level of MORPHINE to stop this bloody headache, I DON’T REALLY THINK THAT WAS WORTH IT TO BE FRANK, FRANK.” Gala yelled.

    “It’s Edge. And it was worth it, you’d have died from blood loss otherwise.”

    “I know… man you’re so serious Edge, lighten up yeah?” Gala said with a bit of a sad look on his face. The teenager shrugged and clasped his friend’s hand, and was then helped to his feet. He loaded up a fresh round of ammunition into his guns before launching into another assault on the angel. Edge repeated the action with his own weapon and followed Gala into the fray. Carbine was now being assaulted full on by the four members of Reach, who had slowed down since their attacks began, but were still nonetheless relentless in their approach. The angel could feel his skin being slashed by cold steel and pierced by bullets, and realised that very few of his own punches were causing any impact. He needed a weapon of his own, he needed his a sword.

    Carbine let loose a fierce field of energy which caused the four members of Reach to be launched backwards and sprayed across the room. They all landed on their feet and stood back up, except from Gala who suffered from decreased judgement thanks to his headache, and crash landed into the wall, swearing again. Mikoto laughed at her friend’s clumsiness and looked back at Carbine, who was now seemingly floating in the air, much like he had done in his battle with Hydrus. The four friends looked upon the angel, and then he was gone. In his place was nothing more than a gust of wind.

    “That’s called cheating!” Mikoto cried, and ran over to where the angel had disappeared form, dropping Creed’s scimitar to the floor and replacing her own weapon. Beatrix walked over and placed her hand on Mikoto’s shoulder.

    “It’s probably for the best that he decided to leave us alone, considering how easy it seemed for us, it wasn’t like he was really trying. He gave Hydrus a much harder time than he ever gave us, like we weren’t even worth it. We’ll need to look at your face too, that’s quite a mark he’s left.” Beatrix sighed, and then replaced Eve before walking over to Edge, who had only moved to replace his gun since the angel had vanished.

    “I suppose you want to know how we can leave?” he asked Beatrix, who smiled.

    “You’re sharp that was the general idea, yeah. Any suggestions?” she replied.

    “Three floors down is a small air dock, they keep helicopters, parachutes, and bi-planes.” Edge responded, turning his back on Beatrix and looking out over the city, before speaking again,

    “If we’re going to use a plane, we’ll need to make a crash landing, there’s no where in the north sector where it can be landed, so our best bet is to use a helicopter.”

    “Then a helicopter is what we’ll use.” Beatrix said, turning to the staircase and motioning for the members of Reach to follow her. Every floor seemed to be deserted, and they found no hostility, or indeed any life, on their way to the air dock on the 127th floor. Mikoto seemed to be lost in thought, and indeed she was, mostly concerned what was revealed by Creed, and also where the young girl, Prude, had gotten to. When they had walked past her cell, Mikoto quickly checked, however the barrier was still offline and nobody was on that floor. Beatrix had several questions she wanted answered, however she felt that Sage had best hear an account of it all, and hear the questions and answers himself, so she kept all her thought to herself. What struck all the members of Reach was that the floor below them seemed to be a trail of blood, however they realised it was likely from Creed as he ran from the scene earlier before. Until they reached the air dock, there was no conversation between the companions, they all seemed to be lost in a thought of their own, and it was subconscious following of the signs that eventually caused their arrival into the air dock, which was just as deserted as the rest of the floors they had proceeded through.

    “Holy. Fucking. Shit.” Gala exclaimed upon sight of the helicopter kept in the air dock. The machine was jet black, with the Planetist logo embedded on the side. Two rocket launchers were placed underneath the two small wings and an automatic gun turret was below the cockpit. Gala ran over to the helicopter and looked in awe at the intricacies of the rockets that had been placed into the rocket launcher. He stood motionless for a moment before a new thought entered his mind,

    “Um, guys, do any of us know how to fly this thing?” he asked, causing Beatrix to groan.

    “I do!” Mikoto replied, a look of glee had also spread across her own face, and she was stood surveying the helicopter for all it’s worth. Beatrix laughed and looked at the young teenager,

    “You’re like a child prodigy, you know that Mikoto? Is there any vehicle you can’t pilot?”

    “Boats. I can’t do boats.” Mikoto replied, a sudden sadness spreading across her face, however a quick glance at the helicopter returned her cheerful disposition. Gala jumped up to the door of the helicopter and to his surprise, it was open. Then he realised that nobody in the right mind would ever bother to try and steal something from the Planetists, especially when it was a good half mile above sea level already. He opened the door and found that there was more than enough room for the four of the companions to get in and find comfort. The helicopter came well equipped. There were beds, and a refrigerator, as well as a small table.

    “Holy crap man, we could leave Solar in this thing if we wanted.” Gala said in awe, although leaving Solar was the last thing he’d ever want to do. The companions clambered into the helicopter, and Mikoto took the pilots seat. A few minutes later and the helicopter was leaving the sky dock and entering the atmosphere of Solar. Mikoto managed to keep the machine level at all times, and almost made it fly with a serene grace. Beatrix, as well as the other two members of Reach, was thoroughly impressed by their comrade’s skills at being a pilot, especially at her young age of 17. As they flew through the peaceful skies above the social disruption far below them, they laughed and ate the contents of the fridge to their hearts content, forgetting, for a time, about their cares and the events that they had just been through.

    ***

    Creed ran from the observation deck down to the 126th floor. His arm was still heavily bleeding, and the trail of blood from the observation deck would have probably led Reach right to the elevator that connected the rest of the building with the 99th floor. He entered the lift and was taken swiftly down to the laboratories. He ran out of the elevator, feeling somewhat weak due to blood loss, and fell into the residence of the Professor, who was sat with Prude, fixing a small red bow in the child’s hair. She jumped up at the bloody mess that had entered her room, and startled, ran over to Creed, helping him up and calling for two medics to help her carry him to the infirmary. Creed felt her touch against him, and her voice echoing in his ears, as he slipped away, and fell unconscious.

    Eventually, the professor and two of the medics had placed Creed upon an operating table, and immediately began taking into account his blood type, and skin type, so that they could graft a new, robotic hand, upon the end of his arm. While the medics were busy running their tests, Caroll pulled out a small needle, and sterilised the end, while she mixed up a chemical in a test tube. She then placed the chemical into the needle, and injected it directly into Creed’s neck. Creed’s unconscious body twitched as the chemical entered his bloodstream, and began its course into all of his cells.

    “What was that?” asked a sudden voice from behind the Professor, causing her to jump up and drop the needle to the floor. Caroll turned to see Andromeda standing at the doorway looking at Creed’s neck, which was now bright red. She hesitated for a moment, her eyes quickly moving up and down the Princess’ body. She was dressed much like Mikoto, in nothing more than jeans and a light vest. She looked nothing like a Princess, and was no longer as far as the hierarchy of command within the Planetist faction was concerned. Hydrus was her father, and upon his death and the reformation, a new leader was to be elected, Andromeda had about as much chance as the secretary in the front offices did, as the entire reformation had been planned with her help, and the new leader had been decided very near to the beginning, and even then Andromeda did not wish to be the supreme ruler of the Planetists, she was comfortable with what she had.

    “It’s just a protein complex; it’ll increase Creed’s muscle density and lower his recovery time.” The Professor eventually responded.

    “Protein complex? Does he know about this?” Andromeda replied, her eyes shifting from Creed’s body to the eyes of Caroll.

    “Yes, he does. We’ve been planning this for quite some time. A few minor modifications to his genetic structure will accelerate a lot of his abilities. Hopefully the entire…” Caroll paused, looking around. Several medics had begun working on Creed’s body, “well, we’ll not mention that here.”

    “Will he be alright then?” Andromeda asked, changing the subject from whatever it was they wanted to avoid discussing in the open.

    “He’ll be fine, we’ll just get a new hand on there and it’ll meld with his bones.” Caroll smiled, the technology she was describing was a result of her own work. “Then it’ll reconfigure itself to match his nerve and blood systems, and it’ll be like his old hand. However! It’ll take longer if you continue to delay me Andromeda, so I’ll be pleased if you leave the infirmary for the time being, we have it under control.” With that, Caroll turned her back on Andromeda and began her operation on Creed. Looking up, she saw a reflection of Andromeda leaving the room in a piece of equipment, before returning her eyes to the bloody mess that was Creed’s arm.

    “Why didn’t you do the modifications to Creed before now, Caroll?” Andromeda’s voice returned, and Caroll smiled slightly, and spoke without taking her eyes from the operation at hand.

    “Why do you think? Daddy didn’t like the idea of Creed being more powerful than he was. Now he’s gone, well, out the window with that.”

    “What kind of modifications to Creed will you be doing, and what about side effects?” Andromeda pressed on, she had decided she wanted answers now, not later.

    “There will be no side effects so I wouldn’t worry about that, as for the modifications, they’re actually quite minor.” Caroll turned and cocked her head as she looked at Andromeda. “The Protein Complex as you know will increase his muscle density and lower his recovery time, as well as that I’m going to increase blood flow to his eyes so that his vision is increased, and finally I’ll be adding a delicate chemical to his nerves so that reflexes are increased by around two hundred and fifty percent.”

    “So in other words…” Andromeda hesitated, “he’ll be what would commonly be referred to as a super human?”

    “More like a human that can do more damage than any human on Charity, even more so than say, the elementalists of the north.” Caroll seemed pleasantly pleased with herself at that statement, for of all the things she knew about biological features of humans, her one weakness was the science of the High Charity elementalists. They almost never were seen beyond the confines of the grand palace, and weren’t last seen in battle for nearly three centuries. As such, Caroll had never been given the opportunity to study them, and had, much like the rest of the world beyond the confines of the High Charity palace, thought they were but a myth.

    “The elementalists of High Charity huh… well, I guess I’ll let you get to work, that’s all the questions I have for now.” With that, Andromeda turned tail and left the laboratories once more. Her thoughts drifted and went upwards, back to the rooftop, and where the angel, Carbine, was busy with the strangers. As she stood in the lift that slowly took her upwards to the 126th floor, she began to question more and more about them. They had called themselves a name that Andromeda was quite sure she had heard Carbine use before. She sat down in a large seat overlooking Solar, and began to recall the events of the past few weeks.

    “Creed had been going out a lot more, and he was coming back looking satisfied some days, and troubled others… what was that day he took the large suitcase full of cash…? He and Hydrus had been discussing someone they had found, was his name Gala? Wasn’t he the guy up there in the observation deck? Hmm… and I wonder why they had decided on allowing some of the gangs down in the city use those monsters the lower labs had been breeding. That made no sense either…”

    As she sat, the sun began to set over the distant horizon, and night slowly began to creep over the city. Behind her, Andromeda had failed to notice Carbine walk silently through, and enter the lift 99th floor elevator. Thousands of feet below her an orange glow had came over the city, as the street lights flickered on. Several hours wore away and still the princess sat in deep thought, concentrating all she could on the recent events within the hierarchy of the Planetists. Suddenly, she sat up and remembered overhearing a conversation between Creed and Hydrus.

    “I first heard the name ‘Reach’ on the date of Leonardo Ronston’s murder... That night before was when Creed had left with the suitcase full of money, and three days before that the recently created creatures were shipped… before that happened there was a meeting, Hydrus had told us that the ‘missing child’ from ‘that day’ had been found… what day did he mean... Hmm… I think I’ll have to ask the other two about all this, it’s a bit much, and I’m just taking guesses here… I’ll end up going nowhere.”

    Andromeda looked up at the clock, it had just turned 9pm, and she realised she had been sitting there for just over four hours. Looking out of the window as she rose from the seat, Andromeda turned and made her way to the 99th floor once more. Stepping out of the elevator she walked briskly to the laboratories, and entered the infirmary, Creed was awake now, sitting up in the bed that had been prepared for him. Sitting opposite were Caroll and Carbine. The angel had his eyes closed and seemed to be in deep thought, and Caroll and Creed were discussing something regarding the day’s events. As Andromeda walked over to the bedside, Creed smiled at her and the reaction caused Caroll to turn around.

    “Hello Princess,” Creed said, “I trust you are alright after what happened today?”

    “I’m fine, how’s your hand?” Andromeda replied.

    “It’s decent, I actually quite like it.” He answered, and then continued to speak. “As for the ‘enhancements’ that the Professor kindly gave me, as I’m sure you’re curious about, they’re making me feel remarkable, and it’s likely their fault that I’m recovering so quickly, they took their place immediately according to the Professor.”

    “Yes,” Caroll answered, “they worked just as I said they would, and there have been no side effects or anything that might turn the situation sour, Creed is Creed, just a bit more, well, exciting.”

    Andromeda looked at Creed, lying in the bed. Indeed he didn’t look like he had been injured at all. He was in hospital clothes, and there were no signs on his face that he had been in battle earlier that day. His hand looked like it was a natural part of his body, and as he moved it around it made no sound or sign that it was artificial. Nobody aside from the people that restored it would be able to tell that there was anything strange about it.

    “I have a few questions I’d like to be answered…” Andromeda trailed, waiting for a response from the other two Planetists. There was a slight look of amusement on both of their faces, and the door to the room suddenly locked.

    “Well, Andromeda my dear, we’d love to answer them, however there’s a good chance that the information you seek is classified, and nobody below me and Creed shall be allowed to hear it.” Professor Caroll replied. She stood up and walked over to the princess, placing a hand on her shoulder and looking into her eyes, “the truth is Andromeda, we don’t need you, and we don’t want you. You’re done my dear, it’s game over.” With the end of the sentence Caroll produced a gun from within her lab coat and pointed it directly at Andromeda’s head. She placed her finger on the trigger as Andromeda stood rooted to the spot in fear, and went to pull it back, before the voice of Carbine rang into her ears.

    “Kill her, and I leave.”

    “What?” Caroll turned to look at the angel, still holding the gun up at Andromeda’s head; Creed sat in the bed and seemed to be very amused with the situation.

    “What do you mean Carbine?” Caroll asked once more. Carbine rose from where he had sat and looked at Caroll. As she stood, she felt his eyes seem to enter the depths of her soul and search her entire body. The feeling produced made he wholly uneasy, and she lowered the gun from Andromeda’s head, unsure of whether or not it was her own will that had caused her to do so.

    “I’d like to have Andromeda around, and involved, like she was promised. You should never break a promise Professor, not to anyone. It’s very selfish.” As he spoke, Carbine’s voice pierced the air and even though his words were soft spoken, there was a tremendous power that resonated through the very sound waves they had produced. At length he spoke once more,

    “You promised Andromeda a fair share. The faction would be split between the three of you, and would enter a hierarchy rather than a dictatorship.”

    “How do you know all this?” Caroll responded, her voice shaking somewhat in fear. She had not revealed all of their plans to Carbine yet, though he seemed to know everything.

    “I’m an angel Professor. You created me, you are my mother, but you don’t know me. Your research only extends to the angels that preceded me, but as you know full well, I’m different. I do not expire. I adapt, I learn. To an extent, I can see into the minds of the people that surround me. You said yourself I am your finest work, and indeed I am Professor, however you underestimated yourself. You must remember that when an angel is created it is sent with a blessing from your God, the very planet that we live upon. I am, in essence, a perfect creation. You created me with a purpose to serve under you and Creed; however I am already beginning to learn that a decision such as that would be pointless, and far from rewarding. So now it is time for a priority shift, a change in the grand design. You have your machine, and your key has been turned. The machine has chosen to follow the key rather than the creator, and I stress that if you want to achieve what you had in mind, then you follow my lead. I have plans, plans that escape the mind of the three of you. However you will come to understand things in time. You will have your hierarchy, however I will claim power over the three of you, and we will do what I have planned in my own mind, that was pieced through careful consideration of yours. Together we will accomplish great things, we will achieve Divinity, and we will become our own rulers.”

    There were several minutes of silence. Caroll stood rooted to the spot, speechless. Andromeda looked on Carbine with her eyes widened. Creed sat in the bed with his eyes closed and a smile on his face, and eventually broke the uneasy silence that had followed the angel’s voice by clapping, and eventually following on with words of his own.

    “A very good speech, I daresay. And I agree! Having a Hierarchy that revolves around the will of a perfect being sounds like a grand idea! We will have our own power, and in turn we shall pay the price of that power in granting the wishes of Carbine, that is fair. If his promises hold true, our plans will succeed and all will be well. We had planned on having an angel simply on our side, now, we have an angel as our commander! What could go wrong? Nothing that I can foresee!”

    “But… Creed?” Caroll spoke, her voice full of caution, “I told you I was tired of serving under someone else. I wanted change.”

    “There will be change Professor. Great change.” Carbine interrupted. Creed nodded in agreement with the angel once more, and eventually Caroll concluded to agree, she had part of what she wanted, and what she was to gain was more than enough. Andromeda stood motionless, her trust had been betrayed, and now she was involved in a scheme far greater than one of her own planning. She thought o herself for a moment, before nodding slightly and looking up at Carbine and the others.

    “Answer my questions, and you have a deal.”

    “Ah yes Andromeda! What questions did you wish to ask us?” Creed replied, smiling with content.

    “Can you explain what’s going on with that group of Mercenaries? Reach, their name was?”

    “Ah yes, the meddlers.” Creed sighed and his face fell somewhat. “If they hadn’t of shown up today things would have gone as planned, and this would have been done with hours ago. The boy, Gala? He is the sole survivor of the targets from the Angel examination that took place a few years ago. His parents were killed, and he was thought to be too. However it appears fate was on his side and he escaped. We thought that he had been wiped out along with his parents until around three weeks ago, when several reports of a gang of Mercenaries with a rising reputation within the underground scene came in. They were checked out, and along their names, up came Gala Sangheili. Obviously it had to be him, everything checked out. We immediately sprang into action, and gave the ganglands of Solar the creatures that were created in the lower laboratories.” At the mention of the creatures Caroll gave a slight look of disgust, she was very critical of their genetics. Creed allowed her moment before continuing, “I sent out a request for the central leader of all the ganglands to be assassinated, to none other than Reach. The sum of money was substantial, and it was obvious that they would accept. However, we underestimated their ability, which came to a loss on our part, and ended up in the creatures being let loose into the town. We couldn’t have any of this pointing back to the faction, and so I immediately was sent to dispatch of the creatures.”

    Creed went on to explain his visit with the North Sector gangland leader, and how Reach had once again pulled through their battle. Andromeda was then able to piece it all together, and as promised, agreed to join the ranks of Creed and Caroll, under the watchful eye of Carbine. The angel looked upon the new hierarchs of the Planetist faction, and smiled for the first time since his apotheosis.

    “We have lots to do, my friends.”

    ***

    Reach sat with Sage under Reunion. They had been home several hours, and the minor infractions that they had received from the fight earlier that day had been cleared up. The only remnant of injury was Gala’s never-ending headache. They had each sat in silence for some time, after explaining to Sage the events since they left Reunion that morning. Now they sat, thinking over the revelations that the past few hours had thrown at them. Sage sat patiently with his eyes closed, he was in no hurry to hear what the four had to say. In his old age, Sage had become one to erase the word ‘haste’ from his entire vocabulary. If Sage did something, he did it at the pace at which was necessary. Beatrix was the first to stir from her thoughts, and she looked directly at Edge before speaking.

    “Edge, why don’t you tell us everything you never did, and I’d also like an explanation as to why you didn’t tell us.”

    “Well Beatrix, and indeed everyone else… I didn't, because I couldn't.” Edge replied, “As you know, I was working for the Planetists many years ago, and I was, well, cast aside and framed for the murder of Gala’s parents. Immediately I sought out Gala and made sure to protect him at any cost, I thought that I could somehow repent for the sins of another person by doing so.”

    “Right, I get that much.” Gala answered, “However, why don’t you run us through, well, what the examination you and Carbine took.”

    Edge looked at Gala momentarily before replying.

    “Very well, I’ll do my best. We were the final two applicants to be genetically modified into the next Angel. They wanted an angel that had no limits, and so they set us a mission. Assassinate a family of three. Me and Carbine, we had never met before, and we were both around the same structure and build. All previous tests had been physical; this one was mental more than anything else. We left, and Carbine felt no remorse in slaughtering the man and wife. Upon seeing the family, within the house, and looking at photographs, I realised that this couldn’t possibly be what I wanted. The Planetists promise peace, but deliver it through fear, and murder, and a number of other abominations. I called to Carbine that Gala was in the opposite direction he was headed, allowing Gala to escape. When news got back to the Planetists that one of the three had escaped, and how I had killed nobody, whereas Carbine had killed two, I was exiled immediately and framed for it. The Planetists had to make sure that it didn’t get back to them. Every connection I had with them was eliminated from existence, and that is the tale of how I was exiled, and how Carbine was ultimately selected.”

    Gala sat quietly, his head bowed low so his face wasn’t visible. Sage sat and nodded thoughtfully, as if searching through his near ancient memory. Nobody spoke for a while, but before long Sage stood, and looked at the group.

    “I understand now.” Sage said slowly. “The emotionally changed person that came from this angel was Gala, the tragedy that came before the angel was his. It makes perfect sense… of course they couldn’t be real angels, the Planetist religion on a whole is based on lies. And now… what of the death of Hydrus… what does this bring forth? Why was he killed, and why didn’t the angel abide to his will, but the will of the other three leaders. It appears there has been a plot since the conception of Carbine… It is going to be interesting to see where the Planetists go now.”

    Footsteps came rolling down the stairs from the club above, and Mary burst into the room, looking at Reach, and Sage. She pointed to the television in the corner, gasping for breath.

    “Turn… turn it on.” She gasped, searching the atmosphere around herself for oxygen. Mikoto reached for the TV remote and turned it on. At once a news broadcast blared at them, and in the corner of the screen they could each see a picture of themselves.

    “The Planetist faction has recently unveiled that the four people you see in this picture are Heretics to the religion and are extremely dangerous. If you are at all aware of their whereabouts, don’t hesitate to let authorities know, or do something yourself. However all information regarding the four must be reported back to the Planetists.” The announcer said, her voice resonating through the television speakers. Reach stared at the screen in amazement, taking in more words from the announcer.

    “The news comes from new Planetist leader Creed, who has informed us that the grand minister of the Planetists, known as Hydrus, was murdered by the four today after they broke into the headquarters. In a report filed earlier today by Creed, he stated that; ‘The four call themselves Reach, and are a threat to all that the Planetist faction has achieved so far. They are Heretics to us, and to society.’ Stay tuned for more updates on this current crisis.”

    “Holy fuck.” Gala said, mouthing afterwards, “they’re blaming that shit on us? No way man, fuck that, what are we gonna do?”

    “We’re getting the fuck out of Solar, and leaving it all behind, Reunion, everything. We’re not safe here, and I think that we’re going to want to be around for the coming events.” Beatrix replied.

    “God damn right we’re going to need to stick around, that fuck Carbine isn’t getting off free for killing my parents, but leaving Solar?” Gala answered.

    “Well, Gala, look at it this way, if we stay in Solar YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE ALIVE TO GET YOUR REVENGE!” Mikoto shouted. Her face was brimming with excitement, of all the members of Reach; she had always been the one that wanted to leave Solar most.

    “What about Reunion though?” Edge asked.

    “Oh, I can take care of things here, and I’m sure Mary will make sure that everything is alright, won’t you Mary?” Sage asked, however as he turned to Mary, he saw along with the rest of Reach that her eyes were flooded with tears. She looked at Mikoto, and then at Gala, and ran towards him, crashing into him and hugging him really tightly.

    “I don’t want you fuckers to leave me!” Mary screamed, her grip tightening around Gala, causing his headache to intensify beyond belief.

    “MARY, GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME!” Gala shouted, his head searing with pain. Mary loosened her grip and looked down at Gala and into his eyes, she noticed that his were watering too, although that was more from pain than emotion. The door to the room opened up once more, and Pepper stood in the doorway, her face suddenly showing rage as she looked upon Mary and Gala.

    “Well, I come to see what all the screaming is about and I see THAT YOU’RE ON MY GALA MARY, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” Pepper cried, racing towards the two.

    “Oh for fucks sake…” Mikoto said to herself. Beatrix overheard the remark and grinned to herself.

    “It’s going to be hard to leave this all behind, huh?” Beatrix asked, looking at both Edge and Mikoto, and ignoring the fight that had broken out between Mary and Pepper, with Gala cowering underneath the two.

    “We’ll be back someday soon, we have to be, as much as I want to leave Solar, Reunion is another story, I love this place, I feel like it’s a part of me, you know?” Mikoto replied, looking around the room.

    “Agreed.” Edge said, “However, it’s for the best, and like Mikoto said, we shall be back one day in the near future.”

    “Maybe we will be, the question is, where do we go?” Beatrix answered, suddenly looking doubtful. They could no longer stay on the continent of Zodiac, never mind Solar itself, the entirety was ran under Planetist law.

    “You will go to High Charity.” Sage replied, his eyes seeming to glaze over at the thought of the great city. “You’ll be safe there, the city has never been touched by Planetist hands since the last great war of Charity.”

    “And how to we get there?” Mikoto asked.

    “We got a helicopter, we got a pilot, and we got a ride.” Beatrix answered. As she did so Mikoto’s face entered an uncontrollable smile state, and adrenaline coursed through her veins. She walked over to the fight between Mary and Pepper and pulled Gala up from the floor, and pulling him to the door of the room. Beatrix and Edge looked back on the room.

    “Mary! Pepper! You know I’m going to be back soon don’t you?” Gala shouted, causing the two girls to break up their scuffle and look in his direction. They both looked down at the floor, realising that they had been somewhat stupid with their actions, and then looked up again, smiling at Reach.

    “We know!” they said in unison.

    “I’ll be keeping an eye on you from a distance, my friends.” Sage said, his eyes still gleaming with that eternal twinkle that they had.

    “We’ll keep that in mind,” the members of Reach replied, “goodbye…” they again said together. They turned their backs on the room and walked through the club floor of Reunion, which was now brimming with the regular customers, and slipped out into the cool Solar night unnoticed. They said no word as they boarded the black helicopter, and the only sound that the night air embraced was the sound of the city, all around them, and the sound of the helicopter blades whirring around as Reach ascended into the sky, and out of Solar.

    End of Chapter 010.
    Last edited by PLANES CURE TOWERS; 25th September 2006 at 7:29 PM.

  22. #22
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    I like long chapters, and I like revelation chapters, as well, so that one scored quite high in my opinion. Boss to learn the details of Edge’s history with the Planetists; bosser still to learn the truth about where the Planetists’ “angels” come from.

    Good action in the fight scenes, the highlight of which was Creed getting his hand blown to hell. ^^

    Other highlights:

    As he spoke, Carbine’s voice pierced the air and even though his words were soft spoken, there was a tremendous power that resonated through the very sound waves they had produced.
    I love people who speak like that. It’s chilling; it’s compelling…it’s just cool.

    You have your machine, and your key has been turned. The machine has chosen to follow the key rather than the creator, and I stress that if you want to achieve what you had in mind, then you follow my lead.
    Cool quote, and a lovely choice of words to boot.

    “Well, I come to see what all the screaming is about and I see THAT YOU’RE ON MY GALA MARY, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” Pepper cried, racing towards the two.
    Oh my God, the return of Pepper…XD I was glad to see her get another little bit of time on screen there; she’s just golden. XD
    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK
    (Or do. I don't actually mind.)
    The Origin of Storms | Communication

  23. #23
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    Hmm... that fight at the beginning seemed spontaneous to me. One moment they were watching the angel vanquish Hydrus, the next moment, boom, they were fighting. I just thought you could have made more of a smooth transition, you know, maybe some lovely taunting from both sides, etc.

    Other than that, your fic continues to breathe the essence of cool. I love the atmosphere that your fic has, and the characters are interesting. Edge particularly fascinates me, becuase I have a thing for characters who are in his situation. Oh, and also, you so gotta go somewhere with that Prude person... so sad, so touching.
    Gone.

    http://psiumbreon.livejournal.com/82372.html

  24. #24

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    Christ, took me almost an hour to read that shit.

    However, I did find the whole Andromeda, Creed, Carbine and Prof. Carroll scenario well written and done in such a way that suspense was actually created. Best thing about this chapter was the twists it contained and the revealing of Edge's background, along with the murder of Gala's parents. I'm also liking how it all seems to be coming together nicely and because of that, I managed to understand this chapter, along with all the characters, without having to cross reference the elder chapters.

    I hate how long the chapter is, if I'm being honest, but that's simply because I don't like reading. Either way, this chapter is the best one yet because of the fact that it had a myriad of themes - action, twists, character development and a consistent plot that still manages to keep that lovely sci-fi vibe.

    Yes this is a shitty critic comment but honestly, I have no negative criticisms of this chapter. Which is surprising.

    Chapter gets a:

    /5!
    The truth is that I'm a bad person. But, that's gonna change - I'm going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm gonna be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.

  25. #25
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    Wow, it's been more than a month, but it's been a busy month. To be honest, it took em a long time to write this, but I'm rather pleased with the result. And thanks so much for the reviews! I really appreciate them, and I'm glad you're enjoying the story!

    Sike: If you like long chapters, you'll probably love this one, it's the longest yet. Revelations aplenty, and of course, many changes to the Planetists! You can expect a bit more of Pepper in the later chapters, and I'm glad you like Carbine, he has a rather large role in this chapter.

    Psi: I figure the fight did seem a bit quick, however I wanted it out of the way, because it wasn't really the point of the chapter. It was basically a fight for Gala to extract revenge against Carbine for killing his parents. Edge joined in because he became the convict he is thanks to the angel.

    Ryan: if you hate long chapters, owned.

    Anyway, without further ado, I present, Chapter 011 of Apotheosis, which is in two posts thanks to how long it is, enjoy.

    -Josh

    ------------------------------------

    Chapter 011: High Charity

    “Edge, tell everyone we’re about to land in Solar Port” Said Mikoto, still at the pilots seat of the Planetist Helicopter. Edge turned and walked into the passenger lounge of the craft, and sounds of the airport below could be heard as the helicopter began its descent.

    “We’re landing.” Edge said, walking into the room.

    “Won’t we be like, arrested on sight?” Gala asked, looking slightly worried, and his fingers twitched above the holsters of his guns slightly.

    “Yeah, probably, which is why we’re going to jack the fuel, and then get the hell out of here.” Beatrix answered, looking quite pleased at the idea of a fight upon her horizon.

    “Beatrix, we’ve just been in a fight.” Responded Edge, his voice hinted with a stern tone.

    “One more can’t help, besides, Mikoto still has enough fuel to keep the engine running and have us about 20 miles away before this thing conks out.” Beatrix stood, looking satisfied, and put her face up at the small square panel that served as a window. Gala walked beside her and looked out himself.

    “I don’t like the look of those turrets.”

    “Mikoto can handle it Gala, don’t worry about any turrets.” Beatrix answered, confident as ever in Mikoto’s flight skills. “Looks like we’re about to land, and we have a welcome party. Remember, don’t do anything until I say to, we may be able to afford a scuffle.”

    The slight jerk of the helicopter touching ground was felt, and the doors to the vehicle opened up. Gala, Edge and Beatrix were greeted with several airport officials and around thirty guards. Beatrix flicked back her hair and stepped out, followed by Gala and Edge. Gala looked up at the turrets surrounding the land zone. The walls were a sandy orange colour, and on all four sides of the area, they expanded some fifty feet into the air, they had landed in a hole. There was one door, situated directly behind the airport officials, although it was more like a large shutter. Reach had landed in a Planetist military base, situated on the Charity Ocean coastline. Reach were approached by what appeared to be a high ranking official, as he was clothed in white, and had several medals pinned to his chest.

    “Hello sirs and madam. I am General Yanme. May I have your names, please? And who is your pilot? May we request that the engines are turned off, protocols, you know.”

    “We’re not staying I’m afraid. We’re on an emergency mission, dispatched directly from Solar, we need refuelling before we carry on.” Beatrix lied, standing firmly.

    “I’ll need to see some identification and mission statements before we allow any clearance, we have had no word from Solar about this” Yanme responded. A slight stir in the guards behind him signified that guns had been loaded.

    “Its covert ops, we’re not supposed to be known of, or anything else.” Beatrix responded, standing as firm as ever.

    “I am one of the highest ranking officials of the Zodiac Military. I am to be made aware of any operation, and yet, yours has escaped my Intel.”

    “I am sorry you weren’t informed general, however headquarters has been under heavy change recently, what with the new angel being born.”

    “…a new angel you say? Intriguing. I suppose you are Planetists if you know of it so soon…” The General paused for a moment, and silence surrounded the dock. A beeping sound could be heard, and the general pressed something behind his ear, standing momentarily, and listening to what appeared to be a small microphone. He pressed the button once more and stood looking at Beatrix. “What… class helicopter is that?”

    “BF52, sir.” Beatrix responded, now somewhat edgy about the sudden smugness appearing over Yanme’s face.

    “Strange… There have been reports of one of those being stolen, by heretics to the Planetist faith!” The General paused, looking smugger than ever, and folding his arms. “What are your names?”

    “…Beatrix. Beatrix Lekgolo.”

    “Beatrix… hmm… I see.” The General turned his back upon the three members of Reach, and lifted his arm into the air, waving his hand slightly. The guards lifted their guns and aimed directly at Beatrix. “I just got a report of you… Heretics.”

    Beatrix jumped forward, and crashed into several of the guards, with Gala and Edge following suit. Drawing Eve from its sheath, she took towards the General, who had pulled out from his side a large sabre, complete with a gun on the end. Yanme opened fire on Beatrix as she advanced, however was caught off guard by a stream of bullets from Edge.

    “Gala, find the fuel supplies and get it on board! Sooner the better kiddo!” Beatrix shouted to Gala, her sword connecting with Yanme’s, which caused them both to be propelled backwards into the air.

    “Yes ma’am!” Shouted Gala in response, and laced three of the guards with bullets, before running to the wall and finding cover. He began to look frantically around for the fuel valves, and spotted them before too long. They were on the opposite side of the docking bay, and in between him and them were the helicopter, and the remaining guards. To his right, Edge and Beatrix were fighting together against the General, who had proven to be quite adept at using his weapons. Gala breathed heavily for a moment, loading up his guns. He then turned his head around the alcove he had found cover within, and was met with a flurry of bullets, narrowly missing his head as he pulled himself back.

    “Right bitches, time you learned not to fuck with the Solar boys.” Gala said to himself, before jumping out into the open and pulling back the triggers of his guns, sending a stream of bullets through the guards. Several fell, and Gala quickly launched himself across the dock, diving beneath the helicopter and running over to the fuel valves. He pulled out one of the several large hoses connected to the tank, and ran it over to the helicopter, quickly pulling open the fuel cover, and placing the hose inside, securing it. As he ran back to the tank, several guards opened fire upon him, catching him off guard, and he stumbled to the ground as one of the bullets connected with his leg. His cry in pain caught the attention of Mikoto, who had been keeping an eye on the helicopter itself until now.

    “Shit, that fucking idiot” Mikoto said to herself, drawing her sword and leaping out of the helicopter, cutting down the three guards that had caused Gala’s fall. “Watch what you’re fucking doing eh?” She said to him, picking him up from the floor and carrying him back to the helicopter, laying him in the passenger cabin.

    “Sorry Mik… can you do the fuelling?” Gala said, whimpering slightly in pain.

    “Yeah yeah, just don’t bleed too much.” She replied, jumping back out of the helicopter and towards the fuelling tank. She quickly turned the valve and saw the hose begin to pump fuel from the large tank into the helicopter. Meanwhile, on the other side of the dock, Beatrix and Edge had cut down Yanme, and were running back to the helicopter, jumping inside. Mikoto stood momentarily, looking upwards. The turrets had begun to move, and although slow, they were changing their target range to the dock itself, they were going to blow the helicopter, and everyone else, out of there. Mikoto cursed, and ran over to the helicopter, removing the fuel hose and closing up the tank. The hose continued to spill fuel everywhere, and the dock began to become covered in the substance. Jumping back into the helicopter, she fell into the pilot seat and took off immediately.

    “Edge, fire down into the dock on my mark!” She cried, before pulling the chopper upwards into the sky, past the turrets, which had once more began to move with the helicopter. Looking out of the cockpit window she saw several soldiers loading the ammo supplied with large shells. “Three!” Mikoto shouted, looking behind her to make sure Edge was ready. “Two!” Another brief pause, the turrets were taking their aim on the helicopter as it ascended evermore into the skies. “One!” As she cried out the final word, Edge let loose a bullet from his gun and below the entire dock caught fire as the bullet ricocheted off the ground with a slight spark. The blaze engulfed the dock, and began to trace its way back to the fuel tank within seconds. Suddenly, the helicopter was propelled into the air by an explosion below, and Reach escaped into the skies above, Beatrix, Gala and Edge applauding the efforts of Mikoto as they left the smoking military base behind.

    “Nice flying Mikoto!!” Beatrix cheered, as the helicopter flew over the ocean, leaving the continent of Zodiac behind. “Now I suppose we’d best see to Gala, what the hell happened to you kid?” Beatrix said, kneeling down. Gala looked up at her and shook his head slightly.

    “WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? I WAS F
    UCKING SHOT!” Gala shouted, lifting up his jeans and showing the wound, which caused Beatrix to slightly recoil back, before bursting into laughter. Gala started getting angry, his rage slowly but surely becoming visible in the colour of his face, which had now began to turn a remarkable shade of red. “What’s so fucking funny Beatrix? IT HURTS.” He screamed once more, causing yet more laughter from Beatrix. She shook off the hysterics eventually, and plucked out a small piece of metal from Gala’s leg, before showing it to him.

    “They were shooting you with splinter guns Gala, have you seen the size of these bullets? They’re no bigger than the nib of a ball point pen.” Beatrix stood, smiling at Gala and flicking away the tiny bullet. Gala’s face had turned red once more, but with embarrassment rather than rage.

    “It still hurt…” he whispered silently, almost as if he were about to cry.

    “Poor baby. You’ll be fine in about an hour, just sit still and don’t jump around.” Beatrix turned and went into the cockpit, leaving Edge and Gala in the passenger area of the craft. Edge stood leaning against the wall with his eyes closed, silent as ever. Gala looked up at him and then collapsed on the floor, falling asleep. Edge, though his coat’s collar was covering it, hid a smile at the way Gala had been acting.

    Inside the cockpit, Beatrix had sat down in the co-pilot seat, and put her feet up on the dashboard of the craft. Mikoto was sitting back in her seat comfortable, holding a can of soda she was drinking through a straw in one hand, and keeping the Helicopter in the air with her other.

    “What was all the screaming about?” Mikoto asked, looking at Beatrix.

    “Gala was hit with a splinter bullet and over-reacted.” Beatrix replied, smirking at the memory of Gala’s face. “How long until we reach High Charity?”

    “Hah, what a pussy.” Mikoto laughed before continuing, “I haven’t got the slightest, could be hours, could be days. We’ve got enough fuel for at least thirty hours of flight, so yeah, I guess the only real danger is me falling asleep at the wheel, or not reaching our destination before our fuel reserves run dry.”

    “Eh, should be fine. What about weather conditions? You’ll be fine if we hit a storm right?” Beatrix asked, a cautious tone leaking into her voice.

    “No, we’ll go down like you just too the wings off of an aeroplane in mid-flight.” Mikoto replied.

    “What!? Really?” Beatrix replied, panic stricken.

    “Nah I’m just fucking with you. We’ll be fine, hahaha.” Mikoto winked and took another drink; Beatrix rolled her eyes and leaned back in her chair, closing her eyes against the sunlight beaming through the windows of the cockpit. They were at least one hundred and fifty miles from Solar now, just a small speck of sand slowly making its way across the ocean. All those miles away back in the city however, gears had begun to start their motion.

    ***

    “Seems there was an explosion at the northern base.” Creed said, walking over to Professor Caroll. “How are the preparations?”

    “Everything is completed; we’re just awaiting the masses right now.” The professor responded, smiling. “Where is Andromeda?”

    “No idea, says she’s down in the library.” Creed shrugged and sat in a seat, looking out of a window, the morning sky slowly lighting up with the sunlight.

    “Well, it doesn’t matter I suppose, I have something for her, but it can wait. Does Carbine know of everything?” Caroll asked.

    “Yes. He does.”

    “Where is he now?”

    “Overlooking the genetics you’ve included for the project, I believe he wants to see you actually, just for some confirmation, floor 99, as always.”

    “Thanks Creed, I suppose I’ll see you below at minus hour?”

    “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

    Caroll left the room and proceeded to the 99th floor, sighing slightly as the elevator reached its destination. She stepped out and walked along the brightly lit corridor, and into the central laboratory. Carbine was stood at a brightly lit tank she had never seen before, staring up into it. She walked over, her face slightly overtaken with intrigue at this new object in her laboratory, and stood beside Carbine.

    “Beautiful, isn’t he?” Carbine asked, looking at Caroll.

    “…what is it?” she replied, looking up into the tank. A man was held suspended in what looking like normal water. However, his body was slightly different, a lot larger than a standard human being, at least eight feet tall. Across the palms of his hands were small black dots, and his elbows extended into large fin-like wings. A slight aura similar to that of Carbine also seemed to radiate from the man.

    “He’s what our army will become. He has extreme senses, and mastery over the element of water.” Carbine smiled slightly.

    Caroll stood motionless for a few seconds, before speaking, “he’s… an elemental?”

    “He’s a lot more than an elemental Professor.” Carbine replied, “He’s what will become one of soldiers in our Soul Army. WN-Rank, otherwise known as a Water Novice. You may now be a Planetist leader Caroll, but even you don’t know what’s been going on below this building. Luckily for me, Hydrus left behind the details, and I will be sharing everything with you and the other two in a moment. What you will see is results of experiments not unlike those that you carried out to create me.” Carbine turned and walked out of the laboratory, looking back upon the Professor, who was still in a state of disbelief at what she was seeing. “Please make your way up to the meeting room, and call on Creed and Andromeda, we have things to discuss.”

    ***

    Around fifteen minutes passed, and eventually Creed, Caroll and Andromeda were joined by Carbine in the large meeting room. The room was well decorated, and the centrepiece was a gigantic table, adorned with gold, and a small glass vase full of red roses upon the middle. Silence filled the air as everyone took a seat at the table. Before long, Carbine spoke.

    “Hello everybody. Before we begin, I’d like you all to note that this will be broadcast on Solar Public Access, and everyone in the city will be able to see and hear what goes on.” Everyone in the room nodded in silent agreement, and Carbine smiled. Several floating cameras rose up from the floor and indicated to everyone in the room that they were active with a small red light upon the top.

    “Good morning, citizens of Solar.” Carbine spoke, his voice calm, and precise. “We are broadcasting to you today, because new changes are taking place here in the Planetist building. We hope you have not forgotten your faith in us! As you all remember, the only way that anyone can ever find true happiness in their life and beyond, is through worship to the planet we live upon! The bringer of life, and the decision maker! Yes, our planet has given us so much in our lives, a home, food, water, and now… I am pleased to introduce myself as the latest gift from Charity, I am Carbine! The new angel of Charity!” Carbine paused slightly, and smiled at his companions.

    “With me as the new angel, things are going to be changing! Our first port of call is the way we shall go about things in our faith! We are the divine souls! We have been chosen by the planet to ensure that it survives! We harvest the lands, we build our castles, and we are the divine souls! Yes, we are those chosen. Hence, we are no longer to be called Planetists! Prophecy has foretold that we must arise to what we truly are; the divine… with the death of the Planetists, a new era begins. The era… of Divinity.” Creed looked over at Caroll and Andromeda, a slight look of concern written across his face; Carbine ignored the look and continued his speech.

    “There are those who said that Planetism was the way to despair… they are but heretics! Planetism is no more; Divinity shall take you to salvation! If you disagree you are only postponing the glory of those around you, and can not be considered anything but a heretic to us! Join our cause or perish, and be damned for all of eternity. We are your gods now.” Carbine began to glow with a slight hint of red, and a power began to emanate from his body, the pupils of his eyes slowly narrowed, and became not unlike a cats, and his voice became more fierce and powerful. “I was but an angel, but today, the true God is born! As your God, I will bring you salvation, and be sure to give you all the promised happiness! You are either with Divinity, or you are against us, heracy shall not be tolerated!” Carbine had unleashed a terrifying power, causing all those in the room to slowly be taken by a slight fear. Caroll’s eyes widened at what she had unleashed upon the world, her Angel had told them all he was more or less a God.

    “If you are a divine soul, you will register to wipe out heretics! This is the only true way to salvation!” Carbine slowly dropped the aura of power surrounding his body, and looked around the room with a smile across his face once more. “Now, let me introduce you to the leaders of Divinity.” The camera’s slowly made their way around the room, with Carbine introducing each Creed, Andromeda and Caroll in fashion. He rose in his seat once more, speaking to the cameras in the room.

    “Thank you, citizens of Solar, for watching our presentation, and apotheosis to those of divine nature.”

    The cameras shut themselves off and slowly sank into the floor of the room once more. Carbine looked around at the members of Divinity and smiled.

    “It’s minus hour, my friends. Stage two is about to begin.”

    ***

    Over the Charity Ocean, the sun had begun to set, causing the sea to glow with a rustic orange colour. The skies had been clear for the entire journey, and now they too were the same colour as the ocean below. The helicopter was amidst a golden orange sea. Reach had all fell asleep, save for Mikoto, who still continued to pilot the craft without trouble. As the sun tipped over the horizon, and all that was left was an orange glow, Mikoto looked ahead into the darkness that was beginning to overcome the skies. Almost as soon as the skies began to fade to navy blue, the skies lit up over the horizon ahead, with a light that Mikoto could only assume was artificial – High Charity was little more than over the horizon.

    Sure enough, a few minutes passed, and then the tallest buildings of the great city began to peak across into vision, growing evermore as Mikoto urged the helicopter forward. The sudden increase in speed woke the members of Reach, who all ran towards the cockpit and looked ahead of them. They watched in silence as Mikoto came ever closer to the great city, which seemed to stretch east and west infinitely. The tallest building dwarfed even the Planetist headquarters. It stuck out above the rest of the urban landscape, and was lit up enough to make it look like it would have in the sunlight.

    A great wall had come into view, and it seemed to span the entire coastline. It also became evident that what originally looked like separate buildings to the largest, were in actual facts all parts of it. Looking down at sea level, a dock had also been made visible, with large gates evident in the wall. The entire thing seemed to be made of stone, the gates included, and looked at least seven hundred metres thick, and amazingly tall. Ahead, another gate began to open up as the helicopter approached, and Mikoto wasted no time in making for it, assuming it was either a dock, or an entrance into the city. Darkness engulfed the helicopter as it flew through the gate and into a tunnel. Mikoto hit the lights on the helicopter and the entire place lit up, showing that it was indeed a tunnel, large enough for a large fleet of aircraft to fly through. Ahead, another gate began to open up, and moments later, the helicopter flew out. What sight awaited Reach was the likes of which they had never seen, or even imagined.

    The large building they had seen before all others towered above the entire city, like a colossus. Below was what could only be described as a man made valley between the great building and the wall. Below, were very small buildings, and a lot of green areas which reach assumed were parks. Buzzing all around them like flies were thousands of vehicles, each going this way and that, as if they were travelling along a road suspended in the air. Directly ahead of the helicopter, another gate in the side of the gigantic building was beginning to open up, and three small men flew out wearing what looked like jet packs and began flashing lights. Mikoto assumed they were a signal and flew towards them, before being escorted into what was plainly a docking bay. She brought the vehicle down for a landing in an area designated by three official looking employees waving flags in the air, and Mikoto stopped the craft, opening the door, and jumping out of the Helicopter, followed by the other three members of Reach. A woman’s voice began to travel through the airwaves of the area.

    “Welcome to High Charity, dock thirty seven north.”

    Gala looked around at the expansive area, the ceiling of the dock was only just visible. To the left of the area were three large red aircraft, equipped with highly advanced looking weaponry. All around the dock, people were bustling around, and all sorts of vehicles continued to enter and exit. Mikoto spotted a strange looking creature working with several human beings in the engine of one of the large red aircraft, and nudged Gala, causing him to divert his attention to the creature.

    “What the fuck is that?” Mikoto whispered, staring intently at the creature.

    “No idea man, it’s so weird and so freakin’ cool…” Gala replied, dumbstruck at the creature before his eyes.

    The being stood at around four feet tall, and was a turquoise blue colour. It had a large nose, with facial features not unlike an anteater, however it was short and a little on the fat side. On each hand it had three long fingers, and it wore no shoes, enabling the flat feet of the creature, that were not unlike an elephants, to be in full view. It stood on its hind legs and wore ordinary clothes that any human would wear. Even though it didn’t look to agile, it jumped around like crazy on the engine, and spoke in the international language of Charity to the other mechanics.

    “Gala, look!” Mikoto whispered again, more abruptly than the first time.

    “What man? I’m checking out the blue guy.” He replied, before looking over at where Mikoto had pointed.

    The creature they had saw first was not the only one in the dock, or indeed unique. All sorts of creatures were everywhere, mixed in with the humans in the dock, and acting as a human would. They all had different accents and clothes, and some were working, others were standing around chatting. Some of the creatures weren’t dock workers at all, and flew out in the many vehicles that surrounded the area.

    “Beatrix… this is insane.” Edge whispered, looking around.

    “Yeah, it’s pretty weird…” Beatrix replied.

    “No way man, this is f
    ucking win. I love this city and we’ve only been here fifteen minutes!” Gala said, returning his voice to normal volume as he spoke. Reach were approached by several of what could only be recognised as docking officials. Three of the party were not of human nature, and Reach stared wildly at them, before being addressed.

    “Welcome to High Charity, I don’t believe you’re registered for arrival?” the tallest of the five men asked, “Where do you and your craft hail from? And… what… is it?”

    All five were dressed in yellow and blue attire. Two were mechanics, as told by their tool belts and the fact they were wearing chequered red shirts and denim dungarees. The man that had spoke to Reach held an electronic device in his hand that he touched with an object that looked like a pen at regular intervals, before long Beatrix plucked up the courage to reply.

    “We’re… from Solar.”

    All five of the employees looked up at once and stared in the face of Beatrix. This caused her to feel incredibly uncomfortable and she shifted slightly as she stood, looking down to the floor and trying her best to avoid the gaze of the officials.

    “You aren’t Planetists are you?” The man asked.

    “No, although this is a Planetist aircraft, please, if you can take us somewhere where we may have a say with your leaders, then we can explain everything.” Beatrix noted a hint of a plea in her voice and mentally scolded herself, before looking up in the eyes of the official and regaining her posture. She never was one to be weak.

    “Hmm… I see. Give me a moment.” The man and the officials turned away and walked over to a large computer terminal, leaving Reach stood by the helicopter.

    “We’re fucked.” Gala plainly said, with no real expression in his voice.

    “We’re fine Gala.” Mikoto replied, “Aren’t we Beatrix?”

    Beatrix looked at Mikoto for a moment before answering, “Yeah, I figure they’re not as hot headed here, so we should be fine. If this were Solar, we’d have been shot out of the sky ages ago. This place is… really different.”

    “It’s just as the stories say it is.” Edge replied to Beatrix, with the same stern tone as always. “The grand palace stands tall above all else, with air docks all around it at flight level. ‘People can fly in the city of High Charity’ is what I was once told; I think the evidence for that is everywhere. These people seem to pride themselves on technological advancements I only thought possible in Solar. Here is the catch though, while one city strives to maintain itself based upon the rule of religion, another city prides itself on Science, and technology. One city is a colossus; the other is in a state of despair.”

    “That’s pretty deep.” Beatrix sighed, looking out of the dock gate and into the night sky.

    “It’s just a shame we couldn’t have brought everyone from Reunion along with us…” Mikoto whispered, looking down to the floor.

    “One thing confuses me.” Edge mused, “When they asked if we were Planetists, there was a hint of… dislike in his voice. As far as I’m aware, High Charity is a Planetist state.”

    “Yeah,” Beatrix answered, “You’re right. I guess the time for questions will come soon enough. Looks like our friends are back.” Sure enough, two of the officials had returned from the computer terminal.

    “Do you have identification of any sort?” The man with the clipboard asked.

    “No, we don’t have identification other than our names.” Beatrix replied, standing firm.

    “What are they?”

    “Beatrix Lekgolo, Edge Hunagok, Gala Sangeheili, and Mikoto Ossoona.” Beatrix replied, pointing out each of the members of Reach as she spoke their names. The officials looked at each other with a surprised expression on their faces for a moment, before turning back to Reach and smiling.

    “The heretics?” The man asked, raising his eyebrows, causing Gala to curse under his breath.

    “I can explain…” Beatrix began, however she was cut off.

    “No need, no need. Please, come with us, we’ve been meaning to find you, but it looks like you came to us. Everything is fine, there’s no need to worry.”

    The four companions looked at each other slightly uneasily for a moment, before following the man out of the dock. They were presented with an enormous dome shaped room. They stood about hallways between the floor and the ceiling, on a large hallway type area that ran around the entire area, with stairs down to the lower floors at regular intervals. The entire room was at least a mile in circumference, and was beautifully decorated with gold trimming, red carpets, and several large fountains. In the direct middle of the room, two tall pillars stood, stretching to the ceiling.

    “Holy sh
    it.” Gala exclaimed, not being able hold in his feelings for the area any longer. The man leading the group simply smiled and carried on his way, walking down the nearest flight of stairs. They seemed to stretch for ages, but eventually they reached the ground floor. Looking up, Mikoto noticed that they were extremely high up, and the ring hallways like the one they had been on ran all around the room, each was bustling with activity. The man led the group on the walk through the area, which appeared to house a large shopping area, and residence, towards the centre of the room. Eventually the group reached the pillars, and they became visible as elevators that led upwards into whatever was beyond this beautiful area. They stepped into the left hand elevator, and before long were being shot upwards with surprising speed.

    During the ascent, Mikoto became aware of how tired she was. She hadn’t had chance to sleep due to piloting the aircraft, and the past few events she had partaken in had really tired her body out greatly. She looked around the elevator, and at the official who was escorting them to wherever it was they were headed and sighed. Doesn’t look like Mikoto can go sleepy byes anytime soon either… she thought to herself, sighing again and leaning against the wall of the elevator.

    “Floor Thirty.” The electronic woman’s voice from the dock announced as the elevator came to a stop, and Reach followed their escort out. The man continued along his way, nodding to several passer’s by. The decoration in this hallway was the same as the other areas they had seen thus far, Gold trimmed walls and red carpet. This area was a lot less busy than the hustle and bustle of the dome, and the atmosphere was more relaxed. At the end of the hallway a large spiral staircase stood, and at the top were two large oak doors, beautifully decorated with various patterns. The man turned to look at Reach and smiled.

    “This is where I must leave you; through these doors is the chamber of our nation’s council. Farewell for now.”

    With that, the man bowed his head slightly and left the same way they had came. Reach stood looking at each other, and at the large doors before them.

    “I’m really not dressed for this kind of occasion…” Beatrix sighed to herself, “Oh well, time to go see what the hell they want with us I suppose.”

    “Don’t be so vain.” Edge replied, rolling his eyes behind his glasses.

    “It was a joke Edge, good game.” Beatrix replied. “Here we go then…”

    As Beatrix advanced towards the doors, they opened automatically, and Reach stepped inside the room. They were met with a semi-circle of sorts, with nine people sat around, and one other atop them all, on a slightly raised platform. Not all of the people were humans, and not all of them were old. All eyes were upon reach as they stood in the centre of the room. The man at the top of the area stood upon his platform and smiled down at the group. He was ancient. He had small rimmed glasses, and large black eyes that seemed to go as deep as eternity. He was dressed in gold and green, and his grey hair came down to his shoulders.

    “I am Lord Alexander of High Charity. Welcome to the grand palace.” The man spread his arms around the room, and the other nine members of the council rose in their seats and gave a slight bow to the members of Reach.

    “Heh, now this is nice.” Gala whispered to Mikoto, nudging her slightly and causing a smile.

    “Do not feel any fear, as we are not your enemies my friends.” Alexander continued, “We are together now, cast aside by the threat of the South.” At the end of the second sentence, reach looked upwards and Beatrix stepped forward, her eyes and Alexander’s met.

    “The threat of the south?” Beatrix asked.

    “Indeed. The Planetists… they have been busy, and they have been changing the system of beliefs without the consent of this council. We cannot do much now but cast aside the old beliefs. Planetism is a lie.”

    “What has brought about this change?” Edge asked, stepping forward.

    “The new angel, Carbine, has entered the hierarchs of the religion, and has proclaimed new ways… Planetism is no more, Divinity is the new name he has set hold upon the faith.” Alexander paused, looking downwards. “He has proclaimed that if you do no believe in his ways, you are a heretic to the religion… and must be executed. That is not the Planetist way! Yet, this is an angel saying these things, alas, they must be the truth… or so we thought. Recently we have discovered from a Spec Ops operation that took place in the Planetist headquarters that the Angels are nothing but a hoax themselves… all this time, Solar has had it’s foothold upon us, and has controlled the world with lies… If Hyrdus was not disposed of by Carbine, then all would be well. Hydrus was selfish, but he was not an evil man. It has been said that you four were his murderers… you are heretics to the faith.”

    “Yeah, we know this.” Mikoto answered.

    “You have unexpected allies however, for the council of High Charity speaking out against the new doctrine has caused us to become outcast. The entire city of High Charity is classed as a city of Heretics. This is not good news for my people! From the looks of things… war may be once again upon our world.” Alexander paused once more, and turned to look at a large un-human member of the council. The alien creature was green skinned, and had antennae for eyes. Its skin was scaled, and it was clad in Dark Green robes. Its hands consisted of two fingers and two thumbs, and its mouth opened to reveal three mandibles.

    “My name is Reich, and I control the army of High Charity. We have received many reports from my Zodiac operations that Solar is creating an army, the likes of which we have never seen before. The soldiers are as the elementals once may have been, however they are infused with souls. The more people die, the more powerful Carbine and his Soul Army becomes, hence, a war is ideal for him to gain a tremendous foothold on the entire planet, and perhaps even crush our fair city.”

    “How could any army stand against the warship fleets I’ve read about?” Edge asked, a look of surprised etched across his face.

    “Our airship fleets are no match for the power of a Soul Army such as this.” Reich replied. “We’d be blasted out of the sky eventually, they would put up a good fight, however a win would not be guaranteed, and in fact the correct probability of a win against what we know of these super soldiers so far is around three percent, if that. That margin is not acceptable. My pilots are good men, and to put their lives in my hands, only to see it go to waste, is not something which I am prepared to do. Where I hail from, life is precious. It may be fleeting, and may not last as long as we want it to, however for the moment in the vast expanse of time that we have, we cannot allow it to go to waste.”

    “This is a lost cause…” Alexander added, a tone of gloom spreading across his words. “If war is to be declared on us, or if we are attacked, we won’t be able to last long, even with our army, we are no match for the likes of which we have been informed of.”

    “We still have ‘that’ option…” A voice from opposite Reich replied. It belonged to a woman, who dressed in a grey suit. Her hair was tied neatly back, and she was incredibly tall and thin. Her face was reminiscing of a pencil.

    “The project isn’t even complete yet, and even then, if you think that we are going to deploy something such as that over the city then you are insane woman!” Alexander responded, a slight tone of anger in his voice. Gala looked up at the old man, and a look of intrigue spread across his face.

    “What project?” He asked.

    “None of your concern lad.” Reich replied, “It won’t matter anyway, even the project won’t do much good in the long run. We are, how you humans say, ‘f
    ucked.’”

    “Hey I have a question!” Mikoto shouted, “Why are we even here?”

    “You’re here to be informed that we offer you refuge.” Alexander replied, “From the outlook, it may not last, however as you are the only individuals singled out as Heretics aside from our nation, we deem it necessary to let you know that you are safe within the confines of High Charity, at least for now. If you would like to leave, you shall be escorted to your quarters momentarily, and we shall let you know how things are going.”

    “That’d be great, thank you, your support is appreciated.” Beatrix replied. The members of Reach bowed to the council, and took their leave from the room. The group spoke no word until they reached the bottom of the grand staircase, at which they were greeted by a short red creature that held one of its arms outstretched to the direct left of its body, which served as a perch for a towel. Its feet were webbed, as were its hands, and it appeared to have a mouth where a humans eyes would be, and its eyes where a humans mouth would be. It wore no shoes; however it was otherwise very sharply dressed, and would easily fit the description of a butler. The creature bowed slightly as Reach approached, and spoke with a very low voice.

    “Hello there, friends of the council, snorf. I am subject seventeen thirty one of the planet Bases, snorf. Here they gave me a strange name; they simply call me Snorf, snorf. I am not too sure why that is, however I am supposed to direct you to your quarters, snorf. So please follow me, snorf.” With that, Snorf turned and walked down the corridor with a great speed. Reach looked sideways at each other momentarily, Gala and Mikoto slightly grinning at the way Snorf presented himself, before they all followed the alien.

    “Snorf, where are you from?” Gala asked, recalling the way Snorf had named himself ‘subject seventeen thirty one of planet Bases.’

    “I am from the planet Bases, it is around thirteen light years from Charity, snorf.” Snorf replied, as if this information was as natural as what would one like for dinner.

    “So you’re… an alien?” Gala answered back, a hint of amazement tainting his voice.

    “I suppose you could say so, snorf.” The alien paused momentarily before speaking once more, “mine is a planet torn by war. We are the subjects, and we follow rule from the Lord of Bases. We lived in a peaceful society; we all worked for each other, and shared everything, snorf.”

    “So you were commies?” Mikoto replied, before Beatrix elbowed her in the arm to shut her up.

    “What is a Commie, snorf?”

    “Never mind,” Beatrix answered, “please carry on with your story.”

    “Oh, yes ma’am, snorf. So we were a peaceful society, however one day, from the west of our world, a power rose up of people who wanted to do things for themselves, snorf. They were scared of our way of life, because there were no rich, no poor, no classes of people; we all shared and lived in harmony, snorf. But the west people didn’t like that, they wanted more to themselves, and they promoted individual values, snorf.”

    “So they were fascists?” Edge said, “Individual values build character, I agree with that viewpoint.”

    “Yes well, you can say what you want to, snorf. They declared war on our peaceful way of life, and because of our harmony, we had no weapons to fight with, snorf. I am one of the only remaining people of Bases eastern civilisations… snorf… I came to Charity as a refugee… I asked to help people, and was employed here, snorf. I like my job, I get to meet lots of people, and help them too, snorf! But that is enough of the history of me, what about you all, snorf? Why are you here in this fine city, snorf?”

    “Well I guess you could say we’re refugees from fascism too, heh…” Beatrix replied, “We come from the south of this planet, a city named Solar. We were chased out as heretics to the way of life there, and we’ve only just found out that Charity itself is under threat similar to ours, but on a grand scale.”

    “Yeah, it’s pretty sucky, but what can you do, besides, it gave us a chance to come to High Charity, and I know that we’ve all wanted to come here at some point.” Mikoto said, a cheerful tone settling over her voice.

    “Yeah, that’s true enough.” Gala answered, smiling at the realisation that one of his dreams had come true and in a time of need no less.

    “I understand, snorf. We are at the place set aside for your group; here is your room, and card key to the council quarters and all sanctums below, snorf. It was very nice meeting you, snorf! You people seem very nice, snorf! Hopefully I will see you again in the future, snorf! Goodbye my new friends, snorf snorf!” Snorf sped off, in the unexpected speed he carried all the way from the staircase. Reach looked up at the doorway before them, to the right of it was a small slot, Beatrix placed the card Snorf had just handed her and the door opened upwards, presenting a large, decorative room.

    The red carpets of the hallways within the grand palace were gone, and the floor was like that of Reunion – ebony wood. The walls were lined with similar wooden panels, and in the centre of the room stood a large circular fireplace, that was burning with a bright flame. Situated around it were three couches, and against the furthest wall from the entrance stood a kitchen and dining area. The walls of the room to the left and right had three doors on each of them; Reach assumed these were to bedrooms and bathrooms, before heading towards the centre of the room, and taking a seat. To their right a large screen rose up from the floor, and the familiar buzz of a television set sprang into their ears as it came to life. A remote control was situated on the fireplace mantelpiece, which Gala promptly took into his hands.

    “Well well, what a situation we’re in!” Beatrix mused, breaking the silence.

    “Yeah, it’s pretty ****ed up. Check the thirty-two hour news channel Gala.” Mikoto responded, nodding at the television set. Gala shrugged and changed the channel on the television to the international news channel. The announcer was, as all were on the station, a smartly dressed woman. Across the bottom of the screen rolled the standard news ticker, and as Gala turned the volume up, it could be heard that the topic of discussion was the recent changes to the Planetist faction.

    “Earlier today it was announced by newly appointed leader of the Planetist faction – now named Divinity – that anyone who is against the ideals of the religious sect is a Heretic, and as such will be treated under a new law which states Heracy is a crime punishable by death. From the city of Solar, where Divinity is based, four individuals have been announced as the first to fall under this – they are mercenaries from a group named Reach, and are currently believed to have taken refuge in the city of High Charity. According to our contacts, the nation has recently condemned the movement made by the Divinity leaders, and have been outcast from the faith as a whole. Currently, it is understood that Solar is mobilising troops to attack the city of High Charity for threatening their ideals. Some have disagreed with this idea, suggesting that if Divinity really wishes to bring peace to this world, then they would not resort to a holy war to do so. However the current angel of Divinity – Carbine – has stated that it is the planets desire to cleanse the world of any who disagree with the true ideals, and that the change in the faith’s regime should be welcomed by all who are true followers of Charity. In the last hour or so, a second law has been passed by the Divinity hierarchs, stating that conscription to the army will be in effect from tomorrow for all military ready citizens of Solar. More information as it comes.”

    Reach stared at the screen in amazement for several minutes, before Edge finally broke the silence.

    “This is something I did not expect…” he whispered, closing his eyes and sitting back in his seat. He pulled out a cigarette from his pocket and lit it up, taking a long draw and blowing the smoke into the atmosphere of the room.

    “Conscription? We’re fucked. High Charity is fucked, hell, that’s going to me a massive army. Think about how many citizens of Solar are ‘military ready…’ Yeah, we’re definitely fucked.” Mikoto said, a strike of terror entering her words. Gala raised his eyebrows at her gesture and shrugged.

    “It’s no big deal, they won’t be able to mobilise for at least one week, and even then, High Charity won’t go down without a fight. The military force of this nation is incredible, I’ve read about it.” Gala grinned and gave a thumbs-up to Mikoto, before Edge cut into his upbeat outlook.

    “The council are still worried, yes, they have an amazing army, and they even have the grand palace airship fleet, however for the council to still be worried, something isn’t right.”

    “I agree.” Beatrix replied, “Even with all the military know how of this nation, Reich, Alexander and everyone else seemed convincingly worried.” She paused, looking around at her companions, “I think we should offer our services.”

    “F
    uck you!” Gala cried, “I’m a mercenary, not a soldier!”

    “Gala, chill, it’s the same basic thing.” Mikoto answered, before looking over to Beatrix. “If they give us a ship, then I’ll agree with you, boss.”

    “Ahh damn it, like hell am I letting you go into this and watching you die alone, count me in!” Gala exclaimed, smiling at Mikoto.

    “Aren’t you a gentleman?” Beatrix replied with a hint of sarcasm, “Edge?”

    “Like you have to ask.”

    “Excellent, now, I’m screwed if I know what we can do to help, however I figure we should hang about for the time being, see what happens, it’s going to be a very exciting few days.” Beatrix smiled, and stood up, drawing out her sword – Eve. “And it’s about time we got involved in a serious fight after all. We started this to make a difference, so maybe we can, just maybe.”

    “Well aren’t you a morale booster?” Gala sneered, but then smiled at his boss, for he was indeed correct, Beatrix was excellent at motivating her partners. She was pretty much born to be a leader. Mikoto smiled at her companions, and Edge simply sat with the cigarette dangling out of his mouth, although a slight smile cracked across his face.

    “For now though,” Beatrix finally said, “I think we could all use a sleep. Take as long as you like, we’ve had a hell of a journey, and I doubt it’s gonna get any easier.”

    ***
    Last edited by PLANES CURE TOWERS; 12th November 2006 at 1:18 AM.

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