Oh, y’all are gonna hate me. But it’ll be worth it.
“I am standing here at the main campus of the Specialized Institution For Research And Recovery, better known as SIFRAS, where witnesses say a massive explosion occurred just hours ago. As you can see here behind me, the center of the complex has been reduced to rubble and ashes. I am..” She pressed a hand to her ear, listening intently. She nodded a few times, and then looked directly into the camera.
“This just in: monsters loose in the city! Phone calls and mails are pouring into the station with claims of strange creatures roaming the streets and a – oh, I don’t believe this, Luke – reports of a person dressed in glowing red armor leading the creatures away from the city. Could this be for real? Join us with the real story, at 10. I’m Sonya Reading for channel-”
With a click, the reporter’s spiel was silenced mid-sentence.
The man pounded his fists against the oak table. “This! How did this happen? How did they get in? And where are they now?”
“We’re searching the area, but the tracking devices seem to have been damaged, possibly in the-”
“FIND THEM! And kill them. I no longer have need for them.”
The secretary nodded, rapidly typing a note into his smartpad. “Will that be all, sir?” The older man waved his hand absentmindedly. Taking the cue, the younger man bowed slightly, and backed out of the office, closing the heavy door behind him.
He sighed as soon as he was out of sight, and ran his free hand across his face, sending his glasses upward. He pulled the frames from his face, and stuffed them in his jacket packet. From this same pocket, he withdrew a slender phone. Flipping it open, he dialed as he walked briskly down the hall, away from the madman that ran the company, and toward his own private chamber.
Listening the unanswered ring, he prayed silently and swiftly. “Please pick up,” he muttered. “Don’t do this to me. Please pick up.”
He reached his office door still praying and cursing under his breath. Squeezing the small device between his cheek and shoulder, he punched in the unlock code on the keypad, and pressed his thumb, index and ring fingertips against the blank screen next to it. With a soft hiss, the door slid open a few inches. Just as he stepped into the airlock, both his phone call and his prayer were answered.
“What?” he heard through the phone.
“Thank Goddess, you’re safe.” Allowing his smartpad to clatter to the floor, he pressed his fist to his forehead in a sign of thanks to the Goddess.
“Is that all you called me for, Trace?”
“Goddess! I was so worried about you. I saw the news. Look, where are you?”
“All of you?”
“Yes. Sort of.”
Trace’s heart jumped in his chest. “What? What happened?”
“I succumbed to the breakdown and Sugar went berserk.”
“Oh, Goddess. Mae! So Sugar…” he trailed off.
“.. caused the explosion,” Mae Dayton finished for him.
“Can she function?”
“Oh, she functions. A little too well, if you know what I mean. Why didn’t you tell me that this could happen? What else did you hide from me?” she demanded with an accusatory tone.
Trace slipped to the floor, hugging his knees against his chest.
“I told you everything I could. You know they watch me almost as closely as they’ve always watched you. If they knew about us…” Shaking off the sudden sick feeling in his gut, Trace changed the subject. “Anyway, the old man is pissed. He wants all four of you dead. Effective immediately.”
“Shit,” Mae muttered. “Zo still doesn’t have full control, and we can’t get Daytona’s chains off to release her powers.”
With a quivering voice, Trace asked,”How is she? How is.. Daytona?”
Chuckling, Mae answered, “She’s as fine as you could expect. Now get out of there, get over here, and greet your mother and sisters, girl.”
Trace’s back and shoulders shook as she cried tears of relief and shifted back to her original feminine form. “I’m on my way, sis. I’m on my way.”
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