"Guess I had better tell them not to shoot or anything?" I was glad to be back in control... Zael just didn't like him... I climb the ladder up and just as my head pokes above the hole as M16A1 carbine get's shoved into my face, before quickly being taken away...
"Sir! Sorry, We thought you were dead." I look up and see a red drake in military uniform with an apologetic and surprised look on his face. I climb the rest of the way out of the sewers and stand, looking at the array around me, there was a full green quadruped dragon in steel plating laying on the ground behind me, and three more bipedal dragons, each armed with LMGs. The red drake puts a claw to his earpiece and reports that I was alive and at section E-21.
"Close enough, but no, me and Tomas are still alive, but I need you all to put your safeties on and not fire."
"Because we have a few extra people here to help us, and I don't want you riddling them with holes, especially since they saved my life." He nods and all the dragons flick the safety on their guns. I hop back down into the hole.
"They're ready." I say as I start to climb back up, Blake hangs up on his phone, still obviously pissed at Zael, which the rage from the psycho's blow was wearing off... he would talk a lot less now that he's getting calm... and make less of a damn fool of himself, if he heard that he gave no sign.
First up the ladder was Tomas, tossing his spaz-12 up onto the street before hopping the entire way up, the guards visibly relax when he does... let's see how they react now. Next up the ladder was Blake, and just about everybody freezes except me and Tomas, their mind trying to wrap around what they were seeing... I even saw someone’s jaw hanging wide open, and that's something when it's a dragon... it's also a good thing that they were to stupefied to even think about getting their guns up. Jamie follows up next and the soldiers start getting uneasy, and other dragons on the street start noticing, and most rush off, absolute in the fact that human = psycho I see one take a picture with his camera before rushing off... good thing media circuses didn't exist anymore, otherwise we would be swarmed by cameramen and reporters.
Korarian climbs up and that about breaks the spell on everyone, they must have chalked him up as a drake. The quadruped recovers from his shock first.
"This is why you wanted us to not fire? Because you were bringing humans to the surface?" I could sense that Jamie was about to object to being called human, but at that time several of the soldiers stiffen as they look towards the south-east, I could see a small group of dragons approaching. They were already close and I could make out the military uniforms... looks like it was the general, just my luck. He lands into a short stride as the soldiers and me salute him, I notice out of the corner of my eye Blake do so also... I don't think I'll ever understand him.
"At ease." He says as he reaches us and we end the salute, he had a look of seriousness with a hint of annoyed curiosity before he says "Would somebody please explain?"
Blake is the one to start, maybe he knew that General Alexander was the top of the military chain in Texas or it could be that he's trying to avoid pissing off the person obviously in charge "Introductions first sir. I’m Blake, these are my friends Jamie and Koraian...” Blake gestures to them with an open hand, Jamie waved simply while Koraian saluted with one of this two fingers and his thumb. “That’s the good news I’m afraid.” He states as his arm falls back to his side.
Alexander doesn't even blink, an unwavering statue by almost every standard "And I'm general Alexander. Just what is the bad news then?"
Blake goes on with“We seem to be attracted to places where terrible things are about to happen.” He smiles excitedly about the prospect apparently before relaxing and continuing with “And this is no exception. Some people have been messing with something they shouldn't have and the result is a spacial anomaly in you sewers; all in all, we're all in trouble. Any questions?"
Alexander shows some emotion then, mostly a more annoyed look"One, define "trouble" further, because i usually get a very pessimistic outlook when I don't know exactly what i'm dealing with."
Blake nods "So do I. Too bad that's all I know other then the fact that spacial abnormality is being kept open..." He looks skywards with a small amount of confusion. "By something that shouldn't really be here." Nobody follows his gaze except Jamie and Koraian.
The General crosses his well scarred and muscled arms "Okay, let me review this. There's a portal in our sewers... which i'm guessing you came from, which is being kept wide open from something in orbit? By the way can you explain the psychos getting into the city in the first place?"
Still looking up, He answers with "Well, that portal is causing reality to become compromised. Rifts in it's fabric open letting anything though." Then he mutters "What are you doing up there?" I overhear this and decide to follow his gaze... what the? I see a spaceship in the sky, it was small from this distance, but if it's in orbit it must be massive.. it took all my willpower to keep my jaw from dropping. Alexander also overhears Blake but chooses to ignore it. "And would you mind telling me if there's anything that can be done about this?"
"Honestly. I don't know with any certainty. But shut down the source that's keeping the portal open, those rifts should go away." I turn to one of the quads. "How many people in this city?"
The question takes him by surprise, it takes him a few seconds to remember... or guess. "Uh... Roughly five million since the last census.”
"Census?" All of the sudden Blake drops to the ground and places his ear on the dirt. "Never did me any good. I already know that everyone in the galaxy has two point four legs and owns a hyena." Oookay.
Blake mutters inaudibly "What's been here? What is here? What's going to be here? What isn't here?" Sometimes having draconic hearing makes it much easier to hear things that probably should not have been heard.
Take for example Alexander who hears this and looks over to me with surprise "What the hell is this?" To which I shrug my shoulders, I had really no idea about this kid.
He jumps to his feet. "You'll have to forgive me. The static in the air has me all... nothing like me. Now." He turns to Alexander. "General. I'm going to need blood samples sent to Terra, I insist that they be voluntary, anything you have on the virus, and an engineer. Best you've got."
The look on Alexander's face goes back to unamused "You can pay a visit to the blood bank for that, or just take a tour around town, the virus data will be in the archives at city hall, and what do you need an engineer for?" I put on a thoughtful face, an engineer? I look over to Tomas, He get's the same Idea I did and takes off running towards the city center, making a good 15 miles per hour... nobody noticed him leave.
"You've got a space ship about ten thousand kilometers above this city sending a steady stream of magnetic radiation to the portal, and that's what is causing your problems. Or one of them at least. Too much static in the air, and you got a problem with lead contamination." He pulls a probe out of the ground after it beeps. "Big problem too. Last time I saw concentrations like that, I was calibrating it. Least of your problems. Back to the spaceship."
Alexander is about to answer before I cut him off "There's an engineer we can get, though we might miss him if we wait too long. But first, spaceship."
"Don't tell me you haven't noticed." He takes a pair of binoculars out of his bag and offers it. "It's the size of a continent. I don't know how you could have missed it."
I wave the binoculars off "I noticed it, having a hard time believing it though. What I was asking was how we are going to get there?"
He stuffs them back in his bag "Call and ask for a lift. Couldn't be simpler."
I look at him, then the spaceship "Oookay, still getting used to the oddity of this, so is there anything the General can do while we deal with the spaceship?"
"Lots of things I think. He could take a bath, play chess, have a cup of tea. What I really would like him to do is get those blood samples. Understand the virus, we can eradicate it, maybe in a single afternoon."
General actually get's disbelief, then humor on his face "Ha, that's a kick. You want those blood samples? Then here, Trey! Get over here." As a sky colored drake runs up he asks Blake "You want anyone to stay behind to collect said blood samples? Or do I just get a mailing address?"
"Koraian. Think you can get..." He nods anticipating what Blake was about to say. "Right, that's settled then. This engineer, anything to do with Fireware?"
A quick look of surprise flashes on my face "How'd you... never-mind, yes it does.
"How? It is what you see but never observe." He takes the quad's forelimb, much to the surprise of said quad and shows me the logo on his wrist computer... a flaming oval with a dragon flying off like he made the circle during flight, in the oval in emboldened gold letters is the company logo.
"You know, Joey would love to see this. Marvel of old computing."
I huff "So you are a good observer. I don't know how advanced you are, but Alex wouldn't take kindly to having his tech being called old."
"Alex? Hmm... sounds German." He lets go of the limb... does he know everything? Or is he just really good at guessing? "I'd much like to meet him. Let's fly since were in a hurry." I was about to ask about that when I hear Jamie unroll a carpet... I look and see it floating in mid air. Zael decides to recover from his bad mood...
-Uh huh... i'm not even going to comment on how out of place that seems.-
"Zael" Blake hisses... yep they are still on bad terms."Right. No time like the present."
I jump into the air and start a hover and Blake get's on the carpet with Jamie before they take off, to the amazement of several soldiers who witness it. I think I even heard the general swear and mention that he needs to stop drinking. Blake and Jamie start picking up speed and I start following them, catching up in under a minute and taking lead.
We travel about halfway in silence before Blake asks...
"So Alex works for Fireware?"
"He doesn't work for Fireware, it's his..." I glance behind me and see a large shadow which I follow to find my dad closing in. I sigh and say "Oh great, looks like dad's dropping by." He follows my gaze and sees the 52-foot long dragon close in... to which he replies casually with "This is going to be fun." I hear Zael make a small laugh about it... at least no words followed. My dad pulls up below and to my right so his down draft doesn't knock us down.
"Shane, why am I seeing something that defies all logic flying beside you?" Before I could get an answer out Blake makes the cheerful remark...
"Logic is currently out to lunch. You'll have to ask for insanity instead."
My dad just laughs and says "I can deal with that, insanity seems a little prevalent nowadays. So where are you headed?"
"To Alex's penthouse."
He raises his eye ridge at me "I'm guessing this isn't about computers?"
"Dare I mention the alien spacecraft... Or the possibility that were going to get blown up?" Blake sa... WHAT?
My dad slams into a hover and about causes him to fall out of the sky "Say WHAT!? And you're telling me that my kid could get killed? And just what is it that you would go onto a space ship and risk death for?" A hint of both disbelief and anger in his gruff voice.
"To stop the whole getting blown up part. Actually, it's more like entire atmosphere getting caught on fire. I may have neglected to mention the CDC's last resort." And to that I about fall out of the sky with him but I recover with a few flaps of my wings.
-Last resort... atmosphere on FIRE! You just left a big detail you know!- Zael just about yells and I agree with "That detail would have got us moving a lot faster, and ten hours is all we have?" Dad just snorts and says "End of the freakin' world, should've guessed... and on Friday the thirteenth no less."
"You three can complain. Your home isn't currently threatened by a virus that turns billions into enraged apes and throwing the entire commonwealth into a dark age. And I'm not leaving either Jamie or Koraian." Hmmm, wonder why he added the last part?
-Technically we're always threatened, but we deal with it... and who said anything about leaving them?- Zael says with the cold voice he rarely uses, but he had a good point. If my dad was wondering about the home and the rest he didn't say anything... probably thinking along the lines of "All in good time."
"Glad we've got that sorted. Two hours for a full risk assessment, seven to manufacture the bomb, and half an hour to get to Melbourne from Germany. And let's assume half an hour for the timer... any questions?" My dad gets a stupefied look on his face, he didn't know that Blake could hear Zael, and that probably upped the creep-o-meter several notches. I focus... bomb, shouldn't they have one ready? Germany to Melbourne... who uses two hours for a risk assessment?
"One, bomb? Two, who uses two hours for a freaking risk assessment? And three... how are we even supposed to deal with the bomb?"
Jamie decides to answer this time "We do not. Close the portal, then there is no need to even set the bomb. Our world seals off from yours and we can all go home."
My dad gets an annoyed look on his face "I still don't like the sound of it, Shane are you actually going to go along with it?"
"Yeah, I am."
The cross look grows before easing up "Well then, if that's the case then i'm going too, and you can't argue you're way out of it." And now my dad's coming along, next half of my old trainees will show up demanding to come with.
Blake apparently takes that directed toward him because he says "Fine. I'm in no position to argue anyway. Just try and stay out of the way." And Jamie demands "Can we move?" right after him.
Blake answers with a small grin "Yes. Jamie, Lets see what this dust bunny can do."
We'll if they wanted to go as fast as they could... "Aim towards that building with the "Fireware" sign on top, that's where Alex lives." Alright maybe I shouldn't have said that.
"Then what are we hovering around for?" She demands, and with a thrust of her arms, she sends the carpet speeding off... man they were fast, I take off and try and keep up but they must have been going miles faster than me, My dad pulls up behind me and I air-brake with my wings and go flying back into dad and grab one of his neck spikes and brace my talons on his scaled neck.
"Shameful, beaten by a carpet... I thought you better Shane." I would have told him to shut up, but then he'd toss me off and leave me behind, he increases his airspeed and we are soon side-by-side with Jamie's magic carpet... I think she thought this to be a race because she tries to go a little faster as we close in on the Fireware building.
"Jamie you're going a little too fast!" Blake warns but he should have said it a little sooner, because they couldn't slow down fast enough. They go sliding across the balcony big enough for at least 3 quadrupeds and crash through a glass window at the end. Me and my dad bust up laughing at this as we land, I could see Alex and Tomas inside along with... Tyler?
"You know, The time it takes me to fix that window every-time someone crashes through it is starting to get annoying, also am I seeing humans?" Alex says while taking a sip from his coffee mug, and gets up from a stool sitting in-front of the bar of the penthouse. He was dressed in his black shorts and a ice blue T-shirt.
Jamie seemed to get a little upset at the fact of being called human but before she could blow up on Alex Tyler sees me and almost bowls them over rushing over to me. He had his Draconic Data Assistant strapped to his forearm and a specially designed bag for quadruped’s tied to his shoulder so that he could store things like a backpack on a anthro.
"Hey Shane! Haven't seen you in a while, mind telling me what's going on?" he says as he nods towards Blake and Jamie.
"Err Shane, You should really introduce us. Which one's Alex?" Blake asks.
"Right... Alex is the white dragon..." He holds his mug up in a "Cheers!" pose before going back to his coffee "And this is Tyler, and for you guy's these are Blake and Jamie."
"Nice to meet you." Tyler says back to them
"Well nice to meet you too. Gotta run and take Alex with us. We've got an 'end of the world' thing happening in..." He checks his watch, or what looked like it."Nine hours fifty five minutes. Tomas, care for a flight back?"
He shrugs "Better than running every damn where." and walks over to the carpet, which was hovering again... tough carpet.
Alex gets a look of mild curiosity on his face "Why do you need me then... better yet, where are we going?" He downs the rest of his coffee and sets the empty mug on the counter. "Kate! Be back soon."
"Oh fine. I have to explain that to you too. Either we need to board an alien space craft and figure out how to stop it from altering the planet’s magnetosphere, or we all get treated to a nice planet wide incineration...happy?"
He keeps his poker face on... though I know that he was probably thinking this was either complete BS or it was true, but he says "No, not really, though it doesn't count now does it? Let's go then."
Blake sees the look of "I have an thought" on Tyler's face. "Wait. Tyler, you have that look saying you have something to add."
He thinks on it for a second before letting out with it "Um... how are we supposed to get onto a space ship that is probably in orbit?" Good question that I was also curious about.
"We? Oh no. Your not coming too are you?” Zael would have laughed at this but he was oddly quiet.
"I don't see why not, This is so out of the norm that I wouldn't dare miss it." True on that account, he loved doing something new... and this was no exception to him.
Blake sighs and says "And I suppose Kate wants to come along too." A smile lights up Alex's face.
"Kate! Mind getting off the computer for a minute?" I hear a door over to the right and see Kate walk out in blue jeans and a blue sleeveless with a design of paint splotches covering the front, Her four arms were crossed, which meant she was busy... then she notices Blake and Jamie.
"What the? Never mind, what is it Alex?" She mostly worked on computer programs while Alex designed the actual computer, it was like a tag-team... and she really didn't like being interrupted in the middle of coding.
"You want to come along?" He asks politely, knowing she wasn't going to.
"Seriously? I could do so much more done if I didn't go." Alex gets that look in his eye "What if I told you there was an alien ship involved?" She whirls around "Alright I'm going!" Always the spaceship part that gets them.
Then I notice something "Looks like everyone is getting back together then, at least Marcus, Jess, and Jason are off in Seattle."
Blake decides to pop up with "I could send a portal. Wait, no I can't. Besides, eight is the equivalent of an army."
Zael makes time for a little outburst -Never know, might need one... besides Shane would never let Jess and Jason come along.- If Blake got what Zael meant He kept it well hidden... but he was still annoyed by Zael so he might not have even paid attention...
"Zael. I have enough voices of my own chattering away at my head. I don't need a brain tumor yelling as well so keep your figurative trap shut." This just got looks from everybody... yeah this is kinda crazy but I can hear his alter-ego! That's something I'd laugh at if the world wasn't going to burn in ten hours.
-Who said I was yelling? And brain tumor! is that the best you can come up with? Shane's called me far worse.- Guilty there, I could get pretty creative when it came to insults, good thing I didn't have to use them often.
"I don't have time to come up with better, remember. We've got a space ship to board.” He thinks for a moment “Need to find the point on the surface where the portal opened. That's where we hop a board." Wonder if they will ever get used to hearing Blake talk to Zael... I was doubting it.
"Got an app for that on your phone?" I say to him, I was severely hoping he did.
"Not without complete reprogramming of the mapping system." I was right, only the app didn't work... figures.
"Great... more wasting of my... wait portal...?" Alex gets a thinking look on his face "Does the portal cause electro-magnetic destabilisation?"
"That's why it's stabilising, because there are two fluctuating magnetic forces opposing each other. I could find it with an old fashioned compass. It's like putting a magnetic pole in the middle of the city." A compass, really? I expected a smart-ass comment form Zael, but none came.
"True, but interference with the power grid has been going on, I could pinpoint it with a layered detail of the city with the power grid overlayed... Tyler give me your computer."
"Oh. That's good. I'm impressed." First time I've heard that today.
"People usually are." Alex starts tapping away on the computer and I look over his shoulder to see a the power grid lines show up from a top down view of the city... And then I spot were the interference is coming from because of the blacked out circle. Alex cracks his knuckles and says "There it is, over by the old Staples store... looks like they lost more than power."
Jamie says "What do you mean 'lost more then power?" in a concerned tone.
"They had a new electronics department open a few months ago, the electro-magnetic interference probably shorted out most of the new product, unlucky for them... aren't we on the clock here?"
Blake looks at the watch/thing again "Yeah. Nine hours forty minutes. Lets move people!" Tyler lowers his head and Kate climbs on, while Tomas pairs up with my dad. I run and take a diving leap off of the balcony and drop several stories to gain some air-speed before levelling out and shooting towards the Staples store... never found out how stores managed to survive so well during the early days of the infection... might have to look that up if I survive this.
The others catch up quickly and My dad takes the lead, because he knows the exact location of staples store, mostly because he rebuilt it himself... with help of course but still. We travel most of the way in silence and land in-front of the store, there was walls but the sky had a retractable roof for large loads to be taken by quadrupeds... The front door was open along with the roof... but there was no-one around, I admit this is a bit odd... considering there was a apartment complex not a mile from here.
"Odd, thought the store would be busy on a Friday." I say and my dad just huffs and replies with "Store would still have someone here, not be empty as a ghost town... something's wrong..."
Jamie shudders at something and says "Does anyone else feel that? We shouldn't be here." Never got that feeling before, except maybe in Arlington during... I shake the memory before I could recall it fully... that was something me AND Zael don't want to remember. I look over and see Blake texting... he sends a message off and starts a new one... why is he texting? I find out a minute later.
"Ahh. You should be getting it." huh?
I unzip my plate carrier as the phone starts playing an electric guitar riff, I pull it out and look at the ID... Blake? I give him a questioning look.
"Funny, she might actually be calling right now." I unlock and take a look at the text.
[We're being watched, over to the right.]
And to this I just casually put my phone away, zip up my plate carrier and focus, dragon perception was really useful sometimes, and I could tell that something was hiding over by a rack to our far right... I don't like being watched, so I do the natural thing and pull out a Mk.43 and put three holes right by where I sensed it to draw them out. The shots were quiet, but when they hit the mirror behind the racks the sound was loud and echoing... we see what was...
-"What the hell!?"- Both me and Zael say at the same time.
I hear Jamie say in a tone of fear... "No. They were just supposed to be a fairy tale." Some fairy tale! These things looked like condensed storm clouds, they moved slow, but in a menacing way that just sent chills up your spine.
Blake gives off a warning"Stay away from them. Don't let them touch you or you'll be reduced to nothing... And I mean nothing!"
"Oh this is just great, maybe we should get to the ship before that freaking thing gets at us!" My dad says as the thing advanced towards us.
"We need to keep away from them long enough. They must of been drawn to the magnetic activity. They feed off electrical energy. And surprise surprise, guess what holds our atoms together." That's a lovely thought.
"And now we know why there isn't anyone around" Kate says with almost a shudder.
-Why don't we just kill them before they do the same to us!- I almost scoff at him -You really think that we can kill something like that?- I say mentally back at him.
Tomas pulls out his sidearm and shoots at one, well it didn't work... in fact it almost sped up!
"Bullets won't work, it'll just be a snack for them. Matter is just a snack for them." Blake says with finality.
"Any alternatives to getting rid of whatever these things are?" Tomas just about demands... he didn't like anything he couldn't defend against.
Blake looks up. "Maybe not. I think they got the message." Who's the... Woah!
It was almost a stereotypical alien abduction, white light and the feeling of weightlessness... this is just plain crazy!
Apparently my dad thinks the same thing, because he struggles and says "You're kidding me!"
And we begin to move up...