Chapter One

"Get in there, you no-good freaks!" the voices startle the copper-haired teen of her sleep.

The teen quickly jumps up and retreats into the cold, damp, dark, deep shadows as three people are shoved in.

One of the people, a girl, was practically perfect-looking. She has long, wavy, black hair, pretty black eyes, caramel-colored skin, and an hourglass figure. The only thing non-perfect about her was her smile and her nails—she has wolf fangs and claws!

Oh, wow! The copper-haired teen thought. She's just like me—all three of them are! The girl has wolf genes and a robotic left leg!! And that boy, he seems to have snake genes! I would have to guess that the other boy there, the one who's already sat down in a lighted corner, is 1/6 cheetah! I'm not the only one like this! I'm not the only freak!

The boy in the corner has long, jet-black hair, brown cat eyes with no whites showing, cheetah-patterned fuzzy skin, a robotic right arm and upper chest, and slightly pointed ears.

The third person, also a boy, has medium-length brown hair, piercing green eyes, extremely pale skin, an odd, mischievous smile, and he is skinny, of average height, and has a snake's scales on his chest and lower arms.

Both of the boys were wearing jeans and no shoes, while the girl was wearing a black v-neck shirt, knee high black skinny jeans, and a silver chain with a black diamond on it.

The part snake boy turned to the girl and announced, "Well, Angelina, you really did it this time. Now we're both stuck here with this stupid, good-for-nothing Cheetah Boy. You really have a knack for getting us into rough spots, don't you?"

The girl called Angelina whacked him and, in an impatient tone, responded, "If you think that, Travis, then why didn't you bite those people that brought us here and poison them? Also, you shouldn't talk about Chaz like that—he has feelings, too. If you're going to start treating people like you already are an assassin, then you—"

The boy called Travis cut Angelina off and rushed, after his forked tongue flicked in and out, "Angie, we are not the only ones in here. There are not three inhabitants of this cell. There is another like us—I can smell human, robot, and red-tailed hawk. I smell these all on the same being. Angie, you should be able to see the outline of this person, right there, in those shadows."

Travis then pointed right to where the copper-haired teen was crouched.

Angelina trained her eyes on where Travis was pointing and gasped, "Oh, oh, oh, there IS a person over there—I can see him/her. Why don't you come out here so we can get acquainted?"

The copper-haired girl slowly stood up, unfurled her 15-feet-across red-tailed hawks wings, and walked slowly into the light.

The copper-haired teen had her left eye identical to a hawk's, in the sense that no whites showing, the right side of her face, not including her mouth and chin, were robotic, she was missing her left arm, and her left arm had gotten replaced by a robotic one.

The boy called Chaz stood up, his eyes wide with shock and surprise.

"You're," Chaz started, "you're the one they call 'The Half-Faced Bird', aren't you? You are on the news ALL the time for those bombings and arsons—and they say that you inspire people to do MORE bombings and arsons because of the fact that you are in jail for the rest of your life. That IS you, right?"

The copper-haired girl's face twisted up with painful emotion as she snarled, "I wish people wouldn't call me that. I have a name, you know. My name is Linia. Linia Chystia, and I'm a former aristocrat's daughter, former gang leader, former many, many other things. The one thing that I'm NOT is 'The Half-Faced Bird'. As you SHOULD be able to see, I am more HUMAN than BIRD. It's not my fault that my body composition is wacked out. It's not my fault that I have these eyes, these wings, and these hollow bones. I'm just a NORMAL FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD WITH A WACKED COMPOSITION AND A WEIRD LIFE!!!!!!!!"

Chaz looked stunned as Linia finished. As soon as she finished, however, she howled in pain and dropped to the ground, clutching her robotic face. Tears streaming from her eye, Linia moaned and groaned in pain. Chaz immediately rushed over to her, put an arm around Linia's shoulders, and talked to her coaxingly.

Linia was screaming in pain for about a minute and a half before Travis finally fished a small tube from his pocket, stuck one fang into it, extracting some poison, put a petroleum-jelly-substance in with the poison, and gestured for Linia to rub it on her robotic face. Doing that, Linia's screaming and moaning died down as the poison/jelly substance went into effect.

Travis and Chaz helped her up, Chaz muttering apologies repeatedly.

"I'm fine now, really," Linia says to Chaz and then sifts focus to Travis. "What was that that you gave me? And how the HECK did that CALM MY NERVES?!"

Travis shifted uncomfortably on his feet while responding, "Well, that was some venom from my fangs mixed with the counter-venom, and when they are combined, they make a very powerful nerve calmer. That is what my venom does, it attacks the nervous system of whatever I bite, so, when mixed with the counter-venom, it changes to a nerve CALMER, but only when those TWO THINGS are combined together in correct proportions."

Angelina snapped out of her thoughts as Travis was speaking and exclaimed, "Whoa, Travis! I think that that is the MOST you have EVER said, like, EVER! Oh, umm…Linia, you might want to be careful of what do around him because, well, he was trained to have KILLER—literally—instincts. According to him, the U.S. government wanted him to be trained as an ASSASIN and work for them, doing what they want him to. Isn't that right, Travis?"

Travis looked at the ground and nodded.

Well, Linia thought, I guess sharing this cell and my means of escape with them wouldn't be so bad, I just have to be careful that they don't leak my secrets at all. That would be absolutely, positively disastrous.

Linia stepped away from the others, proclaiming, "Well, I won't need your help anymore, Chaz, Travis, or you, Angelina. I am going to escape from this place, so I can go help those who, like us, are branded as 'freaks of nature and of hell', including my younger sister, and try to stop this 'Civil War of the World' from destroying every single one of us. If I have to, I will take the armies by force. So, I suggest that you leave me alone so that I can plan my escape and carry it out."

Angelina looked absolutely terrified as she whispered, "Linia, you are going to escape from this hell hole? How are you going to do that if there are ARMED GUARDS wherever you turn out there? Also, you might not know this, but no matter WHERE you go out there, in the real world, in the United States of America, no matter where you go out there on the streets of a city, there are plainclothesmen out there, waiting to capture and maybe even kill you. People will hate and despise you for looking part animal, and if they can't see the animal, they will hate and despise you for having robotic limbs, you will—"

Linia cut her off with a hand wave and hurried, "There is someone coming to this cell. He always comes at this time of the evening. He is here to deliver our 'dinner', but that term is much too generous for what is given to us. Shut up, here he comes!"

With that finishing note, Linia fell silent and flapped her wings, flying to a depression high up on the four-story-high walls. Angelina, Travis, and Chaz took her "advice" and scattered, Chaz folded his cat-like body into a small crevice in the wall, Travis melting into the darkness, and Angelina crouching low into the damp floor.

The door opened and a stone-faced army sergeant walked in, gun strapped to his side and four small bowls of mush in his hands.

"Dinner time, girl scouts," he barked, setting the bowls on the floor and walking out of the cell, slamming the door as he leaves.

Angelina was the first to come out of the darkness and walk towards the food. Travis and Chaz soon followed her, Chaz coming out of the crevice about half of a minute after Travis. Linia, however, stayed where she was near the ceiling.

"What," Linia called, "the heck do you think you newbies are doing? Those guards might be coming back! You should always listen to your surroundings before you emerge. That's Cell Survival Rule #1. Rule #2: always check your food for poisons or drugs before you pick up the bowl to eat it. Which, it seems, two of you failed to do. Chaz, I'm glad that you hesitated in a) coming out of that crevice, and b) didn't pick up the food immediately, but waited first. You should—" Linia dropped from her perch, wings out and slowing her descent, "—always, always make sure that you are wary and cautious. If you are constantly this soft, this stupid, you won't be able to do anything that would keep you alive on the streets—you all would perish immediately. Just to be sure that you actually heard all that I said, I will re—"

Angelina cut her off by throwing the empty bowl of mush at Linia, who caught it reflexively. Travis hid his laughter by burying his face in his bowl of food. Chaz and Linia, who were both looking at the food skeptically, decided, after a quick glance at each other and a shrug, that the food would be all right to eat.

After all had finished, Angelina dropped to the floor and howled in agony. Almost immediately after, Travis, Chaz, and then Linia, dropped to the floor also, eventually losing consciousness.

"Damn it," Linia cursed, losing all sense of the world around her, "I knew that I was getting too soft."

The world went black, after much pain stopped.