Author: LittleMissBlackbird PM
"There is no strong. There is no weak. As the transparent gas fills each cavern of a room, they are all the same - a pathetic convulsion of limbs against the smooth floor." A psychotic noble who manipulates muscle movement, a cunning merchant whose left eye can turn you to stone and a deliquent with a fondness for explosives... These are the results of your experiment.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Chapters: 6 - Words: 10,426 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 04-22-13 - Published: 10-03-12 - id: 3062859
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Professor's brow wrinkles in confusion. Despite continuously replaying the recordings, this has never occurred before. One by one, the lights begin to dim, an eerie darkness settling over the Institute. The figures of the WhiteCoat's merge into the shadows until they are unable to distinguish their own limbs from their surroundings. Panic arises, hushed muttering echoes across the hallways…
'No, it's not that-"
"He's hacked the system -"
"- it's him."
As if listening, the intercom suddenly crackles with static. With deliberate precision, a short message is uttered.
"Alistair, I believe you owe me something."
The voice is brief, curt, and to the point. Low with a tinge of gravel, it fills the empty silence leaving the WhiteCoats uncomfortable. It is a simple sentence, an almost casual inquiry strung together by a few words. But the tone it is spoken in, the dangerous satin edge in the voice makes the threat as clear as ice.
The Professor flinches at the sound of his first name. It has been awhile since anyone has dared to address him in that manner, and there is only one man self assured enough, foolish enough, to call him that. That voice can only belong to one person.
Not now, he thinks, not when we're so close…
Nevertheless, inward pleas cannot alter reality. Taking a deep breath, the Professor composes himself, plastering a neutral expression on his face. Knowing that man, he has probably worked his way into the surveillance cameras as well. He must not show any weakness, least of all to him.
"That, I do." He begins in a tone slightly more even than he feels "And you will receive it – in due time."
A harsh burst of laughter is the only retort.
"Due time? Due time? It has been seven months since you asked for that loan, and do you know how much gold has been returned?" There is a brief pause. "Not a single wing."
"Well, I would gladly offer you the contents of my pocket… but I doubt 20 copper talons would be of much assistance to you." The Professor offers dryly.
There is an awkward pause, neither party sure of how to fill the cavity of silence. Suddenly, the voice responds.
"Pardon me?" He raises an eyebrow, slightly curious yet dreading the response.
"The amount of time you have to convince me of your worth before I blow up your whole Institute."
"Surely there is-"
"The clock's ticking, Alistair"
The Professor has not known this man for a long time, hell - he has never even caught so much as a glimpse of his features. He's heard the rumours, the odd snippet here, a fragment of truth there... Some claim he is a demon that consumes concoctions of deadly venom to keep his physical body from wasting away. Others swear the left side of his face is gruesomely scarred by acid, long strips of flesh decaying off his bone - and then there are those who refuse to believe he exists, branding him a mere urban legend. Yes, there are many rumors surrounding the Alchemist… but empty threats are not amongst them.
He swallows, trying to control the lump swelling inside his throat. Panicking, he blurts out something he never suspected he would.
The Professor knows he's talking far too quickly, that his voice is slurring all his words together into a single blur. But he has to stop him, he must protect his research. He spits out the summary of the experiment - the psychotic girl who murdered the WhiteCoat without touching him, the blue haired boy with the cocky demeanor, the feline eyes that turned his associate to stone…
The Alchemist cuts in abruptly. "And you claim you can do anything with these three specimens?" There is a dangerous lilt to his voice, an implication of something lurking underneath,
"Why, y-yes" The Professor inwardly curses himself for hesitating. "Yes, of course." He hastily confirms.
"I see." There is a brief pause. "Seeing as how I am a man of extreme generosity, I will graciously grant you the opportunity to prove yourself." The sarcasm is smeared on so thickly, the Professor can practically smell it's stench wafting through the intercom.
"Hijack the LiNK – circuit 242."
The disbelief is evident in the Professors tone. His eyes bulge slightly as if trying to escape their sockets, straining at the muscles. His mouth suddenly runs dry and he can feel his tongue lie dead inside, grinding like sandpaper against the bottom.
Hijack the main route of transport around Ira?
An image of the cube shaped connecting cabins flashes across the Professor's mind. Though he has not been into the mainland since his exile, he can still recall the smooth voyages upon the LiNK, the soaring feeling of being upon the magnetic railroad.
The ordinary roads were of little use when Ira expanded to extreme heights. A thin magnetic monorail was devised to conquer this problem and the LiNK was the mode of transport attached to this. The identical cube cabins were engineered to glide effortlessly along the rail and at each stop, they would either connect or disconnect to other cabins depending on the desired destination -
- Or as the name suggests 'link'. The Professor thinks, smirking inwardly at the bad pun.
"I want the cargo."
The Professor blinks twice, unsure if he heard correctly.
"The… cargo?" He asks warily. His eyes dart across the room flickering in uncertainty.
LiNK lines are rarely used for shipping goods. The valuable items are brought to Ira in security enveloped airships, filled to the engine with Guardian. Trade is one of the key incomes for the city and without it, the economy would collapse. What could possibly be of value on a measly LiNK line?
The Alchemist exaggerates a sigh; you can hear the mocking tone seeping into the laboratory.
"Must you repeat everything I say, Alistair? I suppose you must be going quite deaf in your old age…" A couple of snickers are stifled by the WhiteCoats for the Professor has not even reached thirty. "I suppose your hearing cannot be helped. I'll say it once more."
He enunciates each word with deliberate precision.
"LiNK. Cargo. Circuit 242. You have three days."
Click. The intercom shuts off but the words linger in the air like sticky residue. The Professor tries to collect his thoughts, but they twist in mocking circles, always just out of reach. It all comes rushing back to him now...
Rouge reddened smirks, pearl studded fans, laughter ringing as the gunshot rings loud and clear...
- Stop it. Stop laughing!
He promptly slams his fist into the desk.
"Of all the assholes in Ira…"
His whole body is trembling with rage, ugly red dents caused by the pressure of his fingernails carving into his palm. He curses the Alchemist for forging this impossible task, curses the Council of Seven for banishing the WhiteCoats from the mainland, but most of all, he curses himself for bringing this upon himself, for being so goddamn weak.
He curses himself for being the wrong Professor.
The Alchemist's footsteps clatter as he exits the room. A predatory smirk graces his usually stoic expression - he cannot seem to hide his amusement tonight.
Curiosity gets the better of his subordinate, and he calls out, lifting a hand in attempt of stopping his master.
"Sire, may I ask what is on circuit 242?"
The Alchemist halts in mid-step, his shoulder blades stiffen for a second before responding in his usual elongated drawl.
"Cerium, do you really want to know the truth?"
Hesitantly, the subordinate dips his head into the slightest of nods, his chin just brushing against the collar points of his shirt.
There is a pause and for an instant, the boy is not sure if his superior will respond.
"I have no fucking idea."
A/N: This chapter has actually been lying in wait for quite some time, but it never felt quite right to publish - it always seemed a bit off. I really look forward to writing the next chapter I suppose you can guess the gist of what's going to occur from this one. Our three main characters will feature and The Professor might get a break from getting harassed. I'm actually starting to feel sort of bad for him because he's always under so much stress and making all these dodgy underground deals...
Let me know what you think.