Prologue - TAKES PLACE AFTER THE EVENTS IN FALLEN ACADEMY
Matthew Rothschild looked down from the watchtower of the frozen mountain base. Though the thick miasma of fog created by his teammate Pagan limited his view, he could see several well-armed guards in the distance. He squinted and marked their sporadic patterns of movement. None seemed to be interested in moving towards the base. This pleased him. He then turned his head back to the action below where he spotted Pagan nonchalantly sashaying her way to the guards.
This was a risky move, he thought. They would have to be quick and precise if she planned to use this course of action. He crossed his fingers. Trace stood with eyes focused and poised for attack. “Help!” Pagan yelled as she moved forward, but then feigned a fainting spell. One of the guards rushed forward. As soon as he moved, dark tendrils encircled the other guard still at the door. The guard began to mouth a signaling scream, only to have his mouth covered by a tendril that sunk itself into it. One more tendril shot through his arm. He gagged in pain. Another burst through his back and out his chest, spurting his bright lifeblood into the air like a fountain. In a few mere seconds, the struggle was over and the Artificial Reaper feasted on the life energy of the fallen guard.
At the same time, the sentry that made his way towards Pagan approached with his weapon drawn. He yelled something in a language foreign to her and quickly turned to signal to his partner. Upon seeing his partner being assailed, he rapidly raised his weapon to full arms. Before he could attack, his legs buckled beneath him. A trickle of blood seeped from his mouth and he fell to his knees. Pagan stood behind him. She grabbed a tuft of his hair and pulled back the soldier’s head. With a chop, knocked the man senseless. Whispering another silent curse, the man convulsed and collapsed in a heap.
“All clear.” She whispered to Matthew over the earpiece communications. “I see.” He said with pleasure. “Nice job.” He acknowledged. Pagan looked back towards the tower with a nod and a grin. Turning her head away from his sight, she twisted her face in a scowl of contempt. She did not like what she had to do, but she had to continue telling herself it was for the greater good. “Let them love me…” she thought, “Let them see me as a cold-hearted bastard for now. …For now.” With a deep breath, the undercover Sentinel briskly made her way to her partner, the Reaper, who was finishing up his meal. Likewise, Jet Cat flew down from above and perched himself near her, rubbing against her leg. She picked him up gently and tucked him beneath one arm. Likewise, Icarus emerged from behind a wall to join them.
Pagan punched a few random buttons on the keypad of the base door to acquire their distinct sounds. From memory, she played back the tone she heard the soldier punch in previously. With a double-toned beep, a keypad light went from red to green. The door clicked and unlocked. “All clear.” Pagan said speaking through the earpiece. Straightaway, they reported back their proceedings to Hard Knox at the nearby village. “Clever girl.” Knoxville mumbled to himself. Once they had checked in, Rothschild gave a thumb's up. Next, he and Trace made their way down from the tower. When they reached the foot, they gathered up the four mystics of the Fallen who waited below patiently.
Inside the base, several attendees and the soldier who had previously entered were quickly slain and/or incapacitated. It was all done quickly and stealthily as if the team had worked together for years. They were gelling quickly, much to the pleasure of Knox. Within a main control room, there were a scant bit of security monitors, a computer and laptop. The monitors surveyed the surrounding area, but there was nothing to be seen but the thick miasma outside. The computers held nothing important. Suddenly, there was a quick double ring from a phone. The team froze in panic.
“Answer it!” Pagan whispered frantically shoving Icarus to the phone. He pointed to his throat and shook his head in disapproval of the idea. Rothschild’s thoughts raced as he tried to gather an idea as the phone rang once again. The Reaper hissed through his shroud as if trying to threaten the phone into silence. Trace vanished and Jet Cat leapt upon the counter, licking his paw nonchalantly. “Cats.” Rothschild mumbled. He looked at them all. “Some help you all are.” No sooner than said, did one of the mystics walk casually to the phone and pick up the receiver.
There was an audible voice on the other end, clearly American. Pagan’s eyes carefully observed the mystic, who before now had been no help whatsoever. He and his compatriots were all cloaked in blackened robes. Hoods engulfed their faces, making their visages a mere shadow much like their teammate, the Reaper. To all of the F.O.E. member’s surprise, the mystic who held the phone began to speak in a thick accent akin to the local soldiers and people. “Yeah, we’re fine.” He said into the receiver. “You guys have cameras. Can’t you tell?” He said. Several of the team members smiled as they looked at the security monitor. Upon the screens was an elaborate illusion of a busy base with employees and soldiers hustling and bustling as usual. Not on the screen was any of the carnage they had previously executed. “These mystics were full of useful tricks.” Pagan thought, “I’ve gotta step my magic game up or I’ll be replaced by a hooded nobody.”
After a few other quickly answered questions, the mystic hung up the phone. Pagan noticed that his free hand had been holding the head of a dead lookout nearby. Once the phone hung up, he released the head and the body slumped to the floor. Pagan smiled as she realized that he had somehow channeled from the man's mind. “Nice trick.” She said. The mystic did not answer. “Go.” Another said from behind her. “Czalebar will take care of this now.” Pagan looked puzzled, “Salad bar?”
Rothschild smirked slightly, “I believe he is referring to the gentleman with the knack for mimicking.” He said pointing to the previous conjuror. They turned their heads back in that direction; the spell-caster was sitting cross-legged on the floor muttering in some arcane language. The room began to grow dark with what Pagan recognized as archaic energy. Pagan knew these were the dark energy of the mystical arts. “We’d better go, let this guy do his job.” She said coldly. They all agreed and exited with the other sorcerers in tow.
“Base One secured.” Rothschild said to Knoxville. “Took you long enough...” He replied gruffly. “Try to pick up the pace now. Playtime is over.” Rothschild concurred with a slightly irritated grunt and hung up the phone. The team moved out with haste.
“Yeah, I don’t buy any bit of that.” Wally said gruffly as he watched the view screens surveying the room from which the call came from. In a cold, small and hastily built base on the top of the chill mountain, the Sentinel street team known as Dayshift watched several monitors that beheld the base in which F.O.E. had inhabited. Periodic calls were made to the bases and the watch tower had missed their last check-in. When Wallace, mentor of Dayshift, turned to the base’s monitors there was a brief static, then a serene, almost bliss like scene on the screens. It was too calm, calmer than anytime he had noticed before. Wally was always one to listen to his instincts and his instincts had been howling at him for hours
With a gesture, he began to give the command to investigate. His mouth started to form the words, when suddenly there was an unearthly sound. What sounded like a light knell of a bell, chimed from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. They looked around in confusion. It rang again, slightly louder than before, but just as peculiarly indistinct. Wally turned all the monitors to the mountainside and surrounding areas.
Then, all of them heard it: a light, ethereal voice of a child singing. A blank stare of recognition came from Zombie Girl as she stood staring intently. The voice chilled her to the core as it sung hauntingly It likewise grew more solomn. The room grew cold. The others realized it. The sound was not coming from outside. The sound… was within their minds. A chorus of accompanying voices followed the child’s in a low, ill-omened tenor. Wally turned to Beckie, Axl and Thorn, “Get down there.” He yelled. “Now!” Without question, the trio ran off, while summoning several nearby soldiers to converge on the base. Meanwhile, the song continued to grow louder. Ignoring it, Mr. Mammoth fell back into the view screens. His heart sunk at what he saw. “Wally, you might want to look at this.” Mammoth exclaimed as he pointed towards the screens again. They all peered over his shoulder.
The entirety of the room fell silent upon the sight. “What in the name…?” Wally mumbled aloud. With mouths hanging open, the team watched as a black galleon forced itself from the clouds like some ancient beast of unimaginable terror. Its size was immense. Eyes widened and there was a silence amongst them as the slowly building song seemed to permeate the air. Booming drums came from the flying ship that peeked from the clouds. Though it was pitch black outside, amber conflagrations rose from its decks. What looked like cannons and gun mounts began to spring up over its rails. This couldn't be happening, Wally thought. This can't be real?
The child’s voice spoke of hoisting the colors and no sooner than mentioned, an evil ominous flag unfurled and flapped in the wind. “Crossbones?” Wally said. “…an hourglass.” Wallace’s eyes flashed with momentary realization. “Sayang…” He hung his head in despair. The others looked on with discouraged hearts. They had heard of the pirate-like attacks from the mysterious terrorists in SLJ briefings and had likewise dealt with a few of their brood before. However, this was their first look at the notorious ship of urban legend and within it seemed to be more than just a few.
They watched as it stopped and hung over the mountainside like a hungry predator stalking its prey. Silhouettes of what seemed to be dozens of occupants flickered in and out of view on the decks. There was a brief glint like a match lighting and…
Nearby an explosion rocked the mountainside. The base shook and the team braced themselves.
With a shocking cry, Wally broke the team’s stunned silence, “Get Miss March on the phone now. Tell them to get whoever’s fastest here NOW!” Quickly, several more explosions shuttered the mountain. There was a brief rumble as if something were disturbed by the blasts from within the mountain itself. Wally’s eyes looked maddened as a thick fur began to push through his skin’s pores. “The rest of you, let’s go! For the love of all things, get out there and defend this mountain.” Without another word, he sped out of the base’s exit and entered the hellish night.
NEXT.... ENTER SAYANG!!!
The Alpha Sentinels
A large private jet arrives in Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar near the Altai Mountains. The signature sigil of the world renowned Alpha Sentinel squad emblazons its surface. Within is a team with many enemies to fear, yet they fly their name proud, while always on the ready. The emblem is displayed to let those who would cause the world harm know that the Alpha team is always on the job. This is due mostly in part to the fact that the mountain range they will soon be bound for is housing a nearly 300 foot monster. That was one fact; the other fact was that the knowledge of the creature’s existence was made very public by a Khazanian meta-human girl who had recently traveled to the mountains. It was made Public in the way of a live-action movie adaptation of her exploits and later taken against her will by several other invested inquirers The girl known as Sarah Maroon is currently being held under Sentinel custody for that and several other crimes.
That day after checking in their hotel, the team meets with construction personnel and officials organizing the assembly of a new Sentinel headquarters deep within the Altai Mountains at the area where the creature resides: A veritable Area 51. The day is spent readying all the details, large and small. After all particulars are in order, the team goes in for the night and prepares for an early morning chaperone of several high-tech transport vehicles. Working in conjunction with the United Nations, the budget-breaking vehicles were created specifically for the rough mountain terrain normally unsuited for vehicle travel. The night would be short for the team, but easy going and stress free enough as the team expected a safe following day. All information gathering sources had informed of no received dangerous threats or hazards.
The next day, the Alpha team awake to a brisk, cold, dark and particularly overall ugly, early morning. Quickly, they meet up with the construction team and exit in about a dozen large, highly maneuverable transport vehicles. A travelling garrison consisting of Miss March and Sage accompanied the front most vehicles. At the halfway mark, a makeshift Alpha Control situation room was accommodated. A team of operations support personnel rode with BrainChild and Dr. Raven in tow. Finally at the rear, were Spectrum and Lord Greenwood. Preferring to fly above was Alpha Sentinel, Steel Will who patrolled the airways for any sign of danger. Hovering lazily above, Will often looked down at the procession as it made its way to the mountains. To him, it resembled a large, line of pill bugs lazily crossing the nighttime plains. He smiled at the resemblance, knowing that the serene scene sheltered the juxtaposition of the juggernauts that were the Alpha squad. Everything seemed to be going smoothly…for now.
Within the transport housing the situation room, a light beeping sound suddenly penetrated the white noise of busy staff. BrainChild paused only briefly to eye the flashing light on the communication’s device curiously: it was a distress signal. “Line 1.” She spoke into a headphone set. Immediately her ears were assaulted by an agitated voice from a security officer at their destination of the Altai Mountain bases. The voice was distorted and in the distance as the sound of fighting, gunfire and explosions could be heard distantly. It sounded like a warzone. “Open Comm.” BrainChild said swiftly. Out of the blue, a communication’s link was created amongst all the accompanying Sentinels. Several voices clamored for attention on the opposing end of the communication’s link…
“We’re dying out here.”
In and out the voice went as loud blasts rocked the background, until suddenly the broadcast was cut off by an earsplitting static. It was more than enough. Interrupting the broadcast, Miss March immediately began to shout orders to the team. In a flash, Sentinels, Sage and Spectrum were gone. Moments later, a hatch opened and Miss March flew out. Standing askew on the surface of her transport was Sage without any tethering support, he held out his hand politely. “G’day milady. I would be honored to escort you for the evening.” Miss March grimaced before her visor lowered, covering her face, “No games Sage. I don’t want any of your arrogant show-offs out there. You heard the distress call. Those brave men and women are dying for us. Let’s go and serve up justice.” Sage bowed and nodded courtly. With that and without a word, the two disappeared without any further hesitation.
“What in the flying f**k is going on over there? I swear if you sorry, good for nothing, maggot eating fa**ots have f**ked up this operation, I will pull your teeth out through your nose. I better not…” Knox’s routine verbal assault (also known as a greeting) was halted promptly as he was interrupted by Rothschild.
“It’s not coming from us, Knox.”
“You better start calling me sir, boy or I swear I will rip out your tongue and stick it where the son don't shine!” Rothschild took a deep breath as he tried to contain a contemptuous comeback. He continued, “Sir, there is a battle going on at the north end of the mountain range. There is something in the air. It is massive and there are…” Rothschild’s voice stopped as he tried to rationalize what they had seen as they made their way to the third base, “Well, there are monsters coming from it. It is also laying down some seriously heavy fire.”
From the other end, Knox’s heavy fuming could be heard audibly on the entire F.O.E. team’s earpieces. “Is the mission compromised?” He said in an eerily odd calm. Rothschild replied, “No sir. As far as we can tell, we have not been detected. We are currently at the third base and we have only one medium to put in place.”
“Good.” Knox said with the same odd calm, “Make it goddamn so.” He said and cut communications. Knox looked towards D.E.M.O.N. who sat at a nearby table ingesting what looked to be a human carcass. Knox didn’t flinch, but instead spoke, “Ya hear that monster?” The strange man-beast merely raised what looked to be an eyebrow at Knox and continued his feast. “Looks like some of your monster relatives are trying to f**k up our operations. We may need to run a little interference, so as our boys don't get caught.” D.E.M.O.N. grunted. Knox’s face turned into a hideously, evil smile. “You wanna go play?”
Rothschild turned to his small crew and smiled. “You heard the man.” He said coolly, let’s move out. Quickly, the team turned towards the base’s exit, leaving the sorcerer they escorted behind to play his part. As soon as they hit the crisp nighttime air, their ears were met with the nearby sounds of battle. The night sky was beginning to give way to day and in the distance, the sounds of blood curdling screams could be heard. Likewise, the mountain often shook violently. The frequent explosions were loud and many, but they couldn’t be enough to shake an entire mountain range. They all knew what lie beneath and hoped they could get out as soon as these mystics were in place. The team had work to do. As Rothschild finished taking in a peek of the nearby battle, a loud cat-like screech got his attention ahead.
Jet Cat came zooming down from the sky, hissing and squealing. “Would someone tell me what is the point of this cat?” yelled Trace, normally not much a talker. Trace looked frustratingly at the cat as it buzzed around his head for a panicked landing. “Pagan then ran forward and stood in front of the feline as it leapt around frantically. She scowled at Trace, and then looked at Rothschild. “We’ve got incoming.” She pointed behind her at a low hill. They all peered over her shoulder and caught glimpses of the inbound lights of about three all-terrain vehicles and the low murmur of soldiers speaking in a foreign tongue. Over the sound of the explosions, over the sound of the fast gaining soldiers and over the rumble of all-terrain vehicles, one voice came bellowing from over the hilltops…
“I AM BAT-GIRL! HEAR ME ROAR!!”
The entirety of the team distorted their faces in confusion at Becki Bloom’s eccentric battle cry. This was followed by a brief misery as pride in a near perfect execution of mission had been ruined. Finally, Rothschild turned to his crew. “Look, obviously there is something else giving these guys hell over that hill.” The team nodded in agreement. “Therefore, perhaps we take these guys out quickly and quietly and still finish our mission before everything goes F.U.B.A.R. Again, there was a nod of agreement. “Good…okay, here’s the plan.”
A gaggle of Finns crowded around Wally, breathing heavily, talking and above all, being a nuisance. Their nervous chatter clouded his thoughts as he squinted at the distant flying specter with unease. Likewise, blinding flashes would herald massive explosions sporadically as the cannons sounded. But the Finns were mostly blameless; Wally knew this night would most likely be the biggest test of their lives. Already the soldier’s commanders were shouting orders and return fire had begun upon the ship. Their assault rifle discharges clattered near-uselessly against the pirate ship’s hull. Masses of debris clattered intermittently about the ground. For every hundreds of rounds of gunfire from below, a return of fiery cannon fire followed and soldiers fell or fled in its wake. Wally had to act fast and contain the problem.
His appearance grew dreadfully fierce as it had begun to transform to suit the needs of the oncoming battle; his voice reminiscent of a snarl. Tufts of brown fur sprouted haphazardly from various regions of his body. His keen ears perked and darted spontaneously, taking in every chaotic sound. With a loud guttural growl and a bark, Wally silenced the Finn clan from their chatter. He turned to Mr. Mammoth, who had already doubled in size to his elephantine form, “We have to get inside that vessel.” They all looked towards the ship despairingly. It seemed to have a never-ending supply of mortar. “Unfortunately, I sent Axl to deal with the intruders.” He sighed. “His Telekinesis would’ve come in handy and we’re useless down here on the ground. You boys have any ideas?” Mammoth’s large elephant face grimaced in the darkness. He snorted in frustration.
Suddenly a handful of Finns emerged from the direction of the chaotic war zone. They had been running hard and were out of breath. Wally caught their scent first, turning his head in their direction. Then a nearby explosion lit their arrival. Before their voices could be audibly heard, the nearest Finn that had been standing beside Wally spoke, “We can get in.” He yelled as if he had been running. Wally raised an eyebrow. “How? What did you see?” Finn smiled and pointed to the pirate ship’s rear. “Look!” They did and realized that the ship was hovering closely to the ground. There were loud shouts and the sounds of fighting at the flank of its bulk. Wally’s vision was nearly crystal clear in the dark, but he was likewise nearsighted. “What is it, Finn? Get to it son, we don’t have all day.” Several Finns began to shout simultaneously until one smacked the nearest in the head. They all began to smack their nearest Finn in the head until there was silence amongst them. “Well while you guys was hashing it out, a few of us decided to do a little wicked reconnaissance.”
“Splinter Cell, yo…!” another butt in. The original Finn glowered at him jestingly, and then smiled.
“No way, totally Metal Gear.” He replied.
“Anywho, we followed them soldiers they’ah.” He pointed off into the distance, “as they were makin’ way towards the back of thaht wicked pirate ship.”
“Ah man.” Another said. Several Finns hung their heads down and shook them. At once, the Finns began to speak at random…
“It was terrible. Frickin’ guys was trying tah get the drop on the ship.”
“They had rocket launch’ahs and everything.”
“A door opened in tha’ back.”
“The ship lowered to tha’ ground.”
“A ladder or somethin’ lowered. ”
“I’m talking DOOM monsters he’yah.”
“They weren’t that scary.”
“It unleashed dozens of beasties out this hatch.”
“Lost a few Finns. These guys had wicked powahs.”
“I think all the soldiers were done for.”
“But we can get in.”
“We gotta hit it from the back!”
Several of the Finns sniggered at the jest. Wally’s face went stern. The glance he shot them seemed to silence the entire surrounding. Just then, a horrifying wailing could be heard distantly. It was followed by several other animalistic sounds, whooping and screams. The Finns went white. “They’re heeaayah!” One said ominously. Wally turned slowly and simultaneously fully transformed. In a barely human voice, he spoke what the Finns knew, “They’re close.” He looks at the ship; at this point, it was nearly at ground level. A powerful eruption detonated nearby. It sent several Finn’s popping and a few flying backwards. Wally growled fiercely, covering his ears, but taking the brunt of the blast. Mammoth created an ice shield that held back flying debris and blocked most of the damage.
It shocked the team back to reality. Wally rose ferociously. He roared at the ship, then looked towards his team, “Enough planning, they’re here. We gotta meet them head on. We have to get in that door before it closes. Everything you’ve learned previously comes down to here and now. Mammoth, you and I will lay down the cover fire. Finns, I want you guys to provide heavy distractions and try to get a few on the inside.” They all nod. He looked to them solemnly as if saying goodbye with an expression, then his face went savage. “Give em hell boys!”
Surrounded by soldiers, Rothschild, Pagan, Trace, the Reaper and Icarus stare down the heavily armed soldiers fiercely. The soldiers’ trade glares unflinchingly. “If only looks could kill.” Pagan said lightheartedly. None of the team thought to ask her who she was referring to. The Reaper shot her a quick glance. “Well, I can kill.” His tendrils rose aggressively and likewise the others began to display their dazzling array of powers and skills. From behind the soldiers, a young man in a three quarter length duster saunters forward waving his hands for everyone to stand down. “Mexican stand-off.” Trickster says playfully. “You guys and girls…” He nods at Pagan, “mind telling me what you’re doing at this obviously off-limits area.” The criminal team doesn’t move an inch; none speak. Trickster sighs and shakes his head, “Gonna play this the hard way aren’t you?” Again, he is met with silence.
“Fine…” He begins and turns to the soldiers, “Men… arrest them.” Turning his back, he walks back to his team of two and his own ATV. As he saunters away, the sound of the rustling clothes and footsteps of his men fill his ears, as does another sound.
“Over our dead bodies.” A voice says maliciously. “Now Jet Cat!” Rothschild screams, “Hit em now!” Suddenly, a screeching hiss is heard above and the team of soldiers looks up to see a volley of incoming missiles. The sound of orders from their lead commander is cut off as his body is torn asunder by the blasts of exploding mortar. The bodies of the soldiers are hurled uncaringly in every direction. A few manage to duck and take up fire, but are quickly met with the unceasing return fire of the heavily armed cat.
The first detonation sends Trickster tumbling forward. Axl screams as he struggles to upend his ATV and use it as a shield with his telekinesis. He succeeds in covering himself from the shrapnel damage, but the force of the detonations causes him to lose his grip on the ATV. He drops it and is likewise sent to his back. Zombie Girl, who had been nearest to the soldiers, is hit hard. Her lithe frame is sent head over heels into the air, landing with a dull thump in the nearby dirt.
The criminal team doesn’t hesitate to press the advantage. Like an unseen shadow of death, Trace races in and out of the injured soldiers. Screams are cut off quickly as their necks are slit with medical precision. Artificial Reaper follows suit, making short work of the remainders with his deadly coils. Meanwhile, Rothschild, Icarus and Pagan stride calmly through the one-sided melee up the center towards the heroes who are struggling to their feet. Trickster turns on shaky legs and faces them first. “Who are you?” He says through clinched teeth. Rothschild smiles. The grin is made even more eerie as the burning flames surrounding them illuminates his face hauntingly.
“We are the Friends of Eden.” He says placidly, “Now die.”
He points to Icarus who is already glowing with intense energy. The villain’s mouth opens, but no sound follows. He points his hands forward and they ignite with an unearthly energy. A massive blast erupts, followed by a pained yell from Trickster as the attack shreds its way to his direction. The team covers their eyes as Icarus douses the hero with his mighty wrath. The ground is seared deep as the discharge turns its attention to Axl. The hero cries out in pain as it rips into him. His body is sent flying backwards into the ground. Icarus releases the attack and takes in deep gasps of air with a wicked smile. “Is that all you got?” Pagan smiles at Icarus, pats him on the back and begins to walk towards the girl nearby. “Too bad we didn’t get to trade blows girly.” She says, kicking Zombie Girl in the mouth. She leans in close and grabs the hero by the head. The guys lean in close, smiling. Pagan presses her lips to Beckie’s ears, “I am a Sentinel. Help me.” She whispers, then murmurs an incantation loud enough for her cohorts to hear. Zombie Girl’s eyes roll back in her head. She gasps and passes out.
“The end.” Pagan says smugly and waltzes back to join the group. An outburst of applause fills the air as the team celebrates their victory over the heroes. It only lasts minutes however as Rothschild quickly reminds them they still have a job to do. With that, they turn and hastily make way to their last destination to drop off their sorcerer companion.
Minutes later, a globules pool of dark matter begins to stir in the seared Earth where Dayshift leader, Trickster once stood. Slowly, the pool begins to form a large bubble. The bubble elongates and develops what looks to be a body. Before long, a face materializes. It is Trickster. From above, Axl flies down from the sky. “Well, that went over smashingly.” He jests. Trickster gives him a sharp stare. “You’re lucky they fell for my illusion or we’d all be dead.” Axl smiles playfully. “You’re the best boss.”
“Perhaps we should go check on Beckie.” Trickster looks in her direction. She looks bad. He grimaces, his illusion covered her, but that nasty female in their group did her in hands-on style. He was worried; they both rushed over. Her body lay expectedly lifeless.
“Maybe she’s dead?” Axl tried to lighten the mood. Trickster did not laugh. “You don’t suppose a girl could die three times, do you?” Neither knew what to do. Beckie was a ghoul. There was no pulse, no breathing and no blood, just a corpse. Trickster turns to Axl, “Pick her up. Let’s get her back to base. Wally’ll know what to do.” Axl nods and easily lifts the light figure from the ground. No sooner than done, Beckie throws her arms around his neck, “My hero!” She says in a mock hillbilly accent. “S__t” Axl screams and drops her to the floor.
“Ow, is that any way to treat a damsel in distress?” Beckie rises and wipes the dirt from her costume, “So did anyone get the license of that truck?”
“What the hell Beckie? You’re supposed to be dead?” Axl yells.
“But, I’m always dead?”
“No, like really dead or something.” Axl looks confused. “How are you not dead?”
“I have no idea?" She looks around. "They weren't so lucky." Trickster and Axl prefer to not look back. Turning up her nose, Beckie continues, "That sexy broad just walks up to me and is all like, ‘I am a Sentinel’ and walks off.” Trickster and Axl now both look confused. “Don’t ask me dude, I just went with it and played dead since I saw you guys doing it. Oh and she also asked for help.” Trickster frowns and peers in the direction of the battle at the pirate ship. He then looks in the direction of the villains who escaped.
“Okay look guys… we’re outnumbered and those guys look to have some pretty fierce powers. We need to regroup with the team fast. By the sounds of that battle, they could probably use our help. My communicator was lost in the fight. Anybody able to…”
“Nope.” Axl cut in, showing a smashed headpiece.
“Nah, mine went flying off I guess. So, who the hell were those guys?” Beckie asks.
“They said they were friends of Eden.”
“Isn’t that Where the Wild Things Are?”
“It is definitely where the Fallen are, which means those guys are big trouble.”
“Which means we are facing a combined strike from the Fallen and those Sayang yahoos?” Axl says suddenly.
The group goes silent briefly at the realization. Trickster sighs long and hard and places his hand on his forehead. “We’ve got to get back to base quick. Let’s roll out.”
"Transform and roll out." Beckie mocks under her breath. She jumps on her ATV as do the rest, as they leave she begins to make Tranformer sounds with her mouth.
The Children of Sayang
The pirate Rogers galloped along at a brisk pace to keep speed with Percy who was moving briskly through the lower decks of the airship of Sayang. Striding with the confidence of a man who knew the world would change to suit him; Percy made his way to the former laboratories of the crypto zoologist, Dr. Odierno. At length as they trod, a blood curdling shriek filled the air. It was followed by a bestial roar. Like dogs calling out to one another at night, dozens of muddled cries filled the air. Percy smiled from ear to ear as they stepped into a massive room filled with open cells. “We are here bold, Capt. Rogers.” The pirate-like homeless man shuffled frontward and peeked out through the eye slits of his mask. The dark corridor held nothing but the bleak darkness and the baying of creatures untold. “Aye, Mr. Percy, but where in bloody ‘ell is ‘ere.” Percy smiled and pulled a matchbook from his pocket. Casually, he lit the match and held it against the darkness.
“Aaaaaiiieeee!!!!” Screamed Rogers, briefly coming out of character as the flickering light cast upon the murk revealed a sight perhaps never seen before. Within the gloom were nightmarish creatures of all shapes and sizes. Blood and carcasses littered the ground, beasts leapt, flew and slithered from cell to cell as others attacked and mauled one another. Menacing bat-like creatures hung from ceilings, while garish pools of whirling sentient mists wisped through the air. But worst of all, was the fact that now all of them were focused on the small flickering light in the hands of Marshell Percy.
Old Roger began to shake violently. Feeling his horror, the ship also began to tremble. Percy grinned as several of the creatures began to slowly approach their new prey. “Hmm…” He said, “Perhaps I should’ve been feeding them after I released them?” Rogers’ fits began to double. He backed behind Percy who held the light out assuredly. Percy grabbed Roger by the neck, “Well don’t just stand there boy… Release them out into the night. I’m sure they’d like a bite to eat.”
No sooner than said, a writhing thing appeared from nowhere, screaming as it charged towards the pair. Likewise, several frog-headed creatures with humanoid bodies leapt at the new prey. Quickly, Rogers began to mumble incoherently into the air. His voice carried above the noise. The walls of the ship acted instantly and created a barrier between the duo and the beasts. Next, an opening appeared below the creatures and began to spread. One by one and also in groups, the horrors fell to the Earth below and unto a rousing battlefield. Their eyes took in their new surroundings and quickly saw what they desperately needed -- food. In the distance, soldiers fought valiantly against the dark galleon. Correspondingly, the monsters sprang into action as soon as they eyed the long-awaited meals.
Howling, gurgling and roaring, the worst of the hungry beasts flooded the battlefield in an opening salvo. Moments later, cautiously exiting behind them were the minions of the terrorist organization known as the Children of Sayang. However the Children did not follow the beasts, but made a beeline straight to the SLJ bases taking great care not to distract the hungry, mindless monsters from the Spire. What they didn’t avoid however were the soldiers; the poor hapless soldiers.
In the Children’s and the beast’s wake, the screams of the dying filled the night.
Sweaty, blond hair fell in clumps over the face of Marshell Percy; his eyes hidden under the matted tresses. He breathed in deeply and his chest heaved as he surveyed the battle below from the ship that was the Chaos Spire with a smirk. “Exquisite.” He said to no one in particular. However, several within his inner circle of the Actors Guild stood near him acquiescing dutifully. Sir Angelo Oldcastle, Sheryl Quimby, Richard Von Pelt and the Talbains encircled the enamored Percy in a perfectly geometric formation. Meanwhile, the sounds of Old Roger bellowing orders to the ship could be heard in the background as the booming explosions of cannon fire rang from the decks.
Percy unclasped his hands from the railing of the pirate ship that had landed in the chill Gobi Mountain region. He took a few steps back into the circle of followers that surrounded him. “Come my children, it is time.” He smirked and sat cross-legged on the floor. The Actors Guild followed suit submissively, without hesitation. “Our spy within the Fallen tells me that the conjurers are almost in place. Once the four Fallen sorcerers have completed their invocation and the rest of the Children arrive at their destination, all will be in order or shall I say disorder. The Fallen shall not have this day, for this day belongs to the Children of Sayang…
Let there be disharmony.”
In unison, the Actors Guild repeated the words. “Let there be disharmony.” And all in attendance began to chant in unison.
Next up: Wally and Dayshift fights for their life, F.O.E. completes their mission, Trickster and the remaining members of Dayshift join the fight and!!!
Enter the Alpha Sentinels!!
F.O.E. vs. Sayang
“Well I’ll be damned.” Knox mumbled over his headpiece. Pagan and Rothchild exchanged proud glances as they received rare praise from the gruff, former sergeant. “Good job, boys and girls. I just knew a few of you were going to get tagged in this; looks like you’re made of sterner stuff. Okay then, if all four of the sorcerers are in place, prepare for hot extraction. We got fast moving Sentinels inbound.”
“What about the spellbinders? Someone should stay behind and protect them?” Pagan interjected.
“Those freakniks can take care of themselves. Now MOVE MOVE MOVE!”
The team did just that. Without haste, Rothchild turned to the group, “You heard the man, let’s go.” Pagan let out a quick triumphant shout only to be shut down by an evil glance by Trace. “Spoil sport.” She whispered aloud, “Guys don’t know how to have fun.” Rothchild interrupted, already in motion, “They’ll be plenty of time for celebration later. For now, we haul ass like the man said.” In that, the team took off in the direction of their arrival for extraction.
Minutes later from exiting base four, the team could visualize base three in the distance as the sun began to peak over the horizon. “Faster gang, we’re losing the cover of night.” Rothchild yelled. Staying as far away from the ongoing battle neighboring them, the team stuck to the base of the mountain like glue. They rounded the corner of base three when a screeching shriek echoed ahead of them. They continued without pause until Pagan shouted, “Where’s Jet?” She stopped on a dime, “Hold up everybody! Where’s Jet Cat!?!” At this point, they did pause. No sooner than stopped, a pale streak flew through the feet of the team. Jet Cat screeched in horror as it ran and leaped onto the shoulders of Pagan. Baring its teeth, the cat hissed furiously.
“What is it baby?” She said, stroking the cat’s fur. Without pause, the cat leapt into the air. Swishing sounds filled the air as the cat released several incendiary missiles into the impending fog. The team readied themselves for any incoming attack as they had quickly learned to trust the cat’s instincts. Fiery explosions lit up the fog ahead. There was nothing there in the illuminated dawn. In the night, the sound would’ve given away their stealthy positions, but with the rumbling of the mountain and the sounds of nearby battle, Jet Cat’s explosions were barely audible. Rothchild turned to Pagan, “Lift the fog quickly. When I give the word, I want everybody who can to fire another volley on anything that moves.” Icarus stepped forward, crouched in preparation. His hands began to glow with energy. Likewise, the Artificial Reaper’s tendrils began to grow and incline forward menacingly.
For what seemed like minutes, nothing happened. Then an ominous unnatural mist began to rise around the team. “Pagan… I said lower the fog.” She looked confused as her head surveyed the encroaching mist. “Um…that’s not me.” The fog thickened when suddenly, Rothchild disappeared from within it, “Get out of there now!” He screamed as he exited the mist with lightning quickness. The others followed suit as quick as they could. “Holy…” Pagan reacted as a demonic head begin to materialize in the thick of the dark, billowy mist. As they rolled, back away and leapt from it, the fog seemed to lash out at their escaping figures. As soon as he was free, Icarus turned, his hands emblazoned. “No!” Rothchild shouted, “Look!” He pointed forward and the group caught wind of Trace still trapped within the mist. Within, Trace coughed and his eyes watered as a massive fanged jaw began to envelope his head from behind. “Reaper!” Rothchild yelled and gestured towards Trace.
The Artificial Reaper snarled as if hesitant to help, but quickly sent his tendrils careening into the mist. Trace struggled to find his footing and swung his knife blindly at the translucent presence he felt within the murkiness. The demon began to bite down when suddenly, the tendrils wrapped themselves around Trace and began to pull him free. The creature returned the favor and tugged back; its slightly materialized claws ripping into Trace’s flesh. He screamed in pain as his body was pulled in both directions. Suddenly, a bright red flash swathed the monster. It let out a shriek and rapidly, its lucid form slunk away. Icarus continued to send blasts in its direction until it was completely gone.
Trace fell to the ground clutching the slightly bleeding scrapes on his side as the team stood in a circle around him. “What in the hell was that?” Pagan said. “Whatever it was, we don’t have time to—“Before he could finish a horrible cluster of screams, yelps and wails filled the air. The team couldn’t react, before they were assailed from every side. From behind, Reaper was sent flailing forward by an invisible push. His body jerked awkwardly as he landed hard against the ground. Recovering quickly, he hissed and sprang around like a cat. Before him stood a young man smiling hideously, strange gangly arms flailed around his body as if completely unattached to it. “Who dares?” Reaper breathed angrily. “The Artist dares. Are you prepared to become my newest work of art?” He laughed, “Who am I kidding? It doesn’t matter if you are or not.” Reaper roared and charged forward. The Artist’s grin turned Cheshire as he braced for the attack.
In like manner, battles sprung up all around the ring of villains. The mist-like Wraith returned the favor in kind as it coiled around the lanky Icarus who had previously sent it retreating with his energy blasts. Breaking through the chaos, the load roar of a motorcycle engine filled the air. “Hope you made your peace brother…” Rothchild barely rolls away as a bat nearly takes off his head. “Cause Nomad is gonna send you straight to hell.” The biker circles sharp as Rothchild backs up to get distance between the two. With a spin out of his tire, Nomad storms forward for another pass waving the bat wildly. His attack is halted abruptly as Nomad is forcefully tackled from his bike. The biker fumes as he looks up to see Trace rolling to his feet, waving his hand for Nomad to attack.
High above the melee, Jet Cat targets a lone figure standing slightly away from the battle. Its ballistic systems click into position as it prepares to fire… when out of nowhere, “Hello kitty.” A small spritely little girl appears right before the cat’s eyes. The cat looks puzzled as her dragonfly –like wings flutter rapidly. With a coy smile, she looks at the mechanized cat in amazement in her eyes. “You’re a @#$ up piece of work, aren’t you? The cat bares her teeth and claws, hissing in return. Obliviously ignoring the threat, Absinthe glances at the cat’s mechanics. “Ooh shiny.” She says, and then zips away. “Come and get me.” Leaving a dull, emerald glowing trail, she zooms off with the cat in full pursuit.
Pagan watches helplessly as her cat flies too high to visualize. She turns her attention to one of the many fights, to see a young girl standing in front of her. The girl’s murky clothes are tattered with holes, mismatched and a bit childish. “And here I thought I cornered the market on Goth” Pagan said out loud. The young girl’s moppish black hair covered her face, hiding her demeanor or reaction. Despite this, Pagan heard a faint giggle. The girl parted her hair with black tipped nails and looked at Pagan strangely. She took measure of Pagan from head to toe with inquisitive eyes; taking in her knee-high boots and her halter-top. She paused at Pagan’s hood and the tuft of black plumage adorning her neck. Pagan pulled back to attack. But the girl did not attack, but instead her eyes grew large. She tilted her head like a dog and then her mouth dropped. Confused, Pagan cried out to the girl. “You just going to stand there being a complete weirdo or are we going to do this?” The girl looked a bit perplexed.
“You’re not one of them.” With the utterance of the words, Pagan’s face also grew perplexed.
“I mean you dress the part, but you’re not like them at all.” Ellie said. “You have a secret, don’t you?”
Pagan’s eyes grew as large as eggs. The girl smirked, “Oh wow. That would make two of you.” She said. Pagan furrowed her brows in confusion at the statement as the girl pointed over her shoulder at someone else in her group. It was the Artificial Reaper. Before Pagan could comprehend her meaning, “Oh well, doesn’t matter...” Ellie said nonchalantly. Behind the girl, the snarling, dripping and fuming auras of three of her companions all filled with furious bloodlust turned their attention to Pagan. “I’ve got orders to take you down. Sorry babe, nothing personal.” No sooner said, than the massive auras of blood, red malice charge forward like wild animals towards Pagan. “Oh s__t!” She turns...
As Rothchild struggles to help Trace fight Nomad, he catches a well-dressed figure out the corner of his eyes. A man in a black suit stands calmly near the fourth base and watches him. Rothchild grimaces with determination. “You must be the leader.” He says under his breath. Turning away from his current fight, he darts in the direction of the spectator. Although a bit visibly shocked at the speed of the incoming Rothchild, Dr. Voodoo calmly strides through the base door close by. As his body disappears into the entrance, his finger returns and curls repetitively, gesturing the leader of F.O.E. to follow. Burning with anger at his provoker’s arrogance, Rothchild obliges.