Prologue

Perfection: a near-utopian place that could only be described in movies as "picture-perfect." A place without flaw, without failure, without anything wrong to point out in it. A place so terribly unstable, it was almost painful to look at from a distance. The city ironically named Grey, since everything there was either black or white; you were either part of the perfection, or you were not. There was no in-between. There was no room for any "grey" people in this utopian society.

It might sound strange, but people didn't exactly flock to the city of Grey. The population was average, with the smiling faces of children to the common wrinkles of the elderly. Those who came from the city weren't exactly known as good people—they were simple known as people who did no wrong. Was it from fear of punishment? Was it from desperation of an impossible task? Was it just an experiment? Regardless of the reasons why this city was the way it was, it was destined to fail.

In a world where nothing ever goes wrong, people grow careless. They let down their guard. They grow blind to anything real and stick to their wondrous fantasy lives where rainbows never die and misery doesn't exist. It's a scary thought, but they're too busy being oblivious to realize how frightening their situation truly is.

It started with the exact situation of oblivious people being careless. One overlooked crack later, radiation seeped carelessly into a lake, drifting casually throughout the water supply and into the mouths of those who allowed it to get there in the first place. It was such a small amount; it went by unnoticed for months. The people of Grey went on with their lives as average as could be. How droll, how boring, how typical of them all to miss the most dangerous thing in their perfect little lives.

Then it hit—eight months later, the first sign of the sickness came to pass. The news reported of a teenage girl who woke up one day with strange markings on her face; dots and dashes under her eyes and on her cheek bones, even running across the bridge of her nose. It was bizarre, new, unexplainable. Exactly twenty-four hours later, the true sickness set in and the very next day, the girl was running through the city with a megaphone, singing her very loudest. The people of Grey didn't know what to do.

The question is, how does a city so used to everything going right deal with a situation in which the tiniest of things suddenly goes wrong? The smallest pin-prick of a problem suddenly brings down the entire house of cards. Perfection is the void of flaw, but once flaw suddenly seeps through the cracks…all will fall into chaos; beautiful, heart-wrenching chaos. It was truly wonderful, what happened to the city of Grey. How does perfection deal with the flaws of its own creation? It goes mad.

Soon after the incident with the strange girl who could not be restrained, more cases popped up all over the city. The teenagers of the city were quickly losing their minds, some more than others. The adults and the elderly didn't know how to explain it, but eventually, as tests revealed it was due to a radiation leak into the water supply, they came to a shaky conclusion. The radiation affected those with more unstable minds. While most of the adults were already set in their ways of life and their mindsets were already pretty straight-forward, the teenagers were always inwardly questioning things, trying to act out and be as different as possible, while still dealing with the frustrating lines of fitting in with the ways of society—especially a society such as the one in Grey. It was quite a riot, really.

The city of Grey was already so low-profile, nobody really took any notice when it suddenly dropped off the charts. The entire city basically shut down over the course of a mere few weeks. They were silent for three months. Then, out of nowhere, the government got a call from the Mayor's office in the city of Grey. The governor who picked up the call was greatly confused by what happened after that.

The Mayor seemed to be out of breath. He was coughing and his voice shook with exhaustion. Most of all, he sounded absolutely distraught. Before he could express to the governor what the issue was, there was the sound of a struggle and the Mayor suddenly went away. A new voice picked up the phone after that. It sounded low, but almost childish in a way.

"Catch us if you can, copper!"

A laugh could then be heard, followed by the high-pitched tone of the phone being hung up. The governor at the time became worried, but hardly thought much of it. After all, it was the city of Grey, right? What could possibly go wrong in a place as perfect as that? Just another frightening example of the ignorance of those who turn a blind eye to the true situation at hand. The city was so perfect for so long, so nobody could believe it when things seemed to crash and crumble to the ground. It was unthinkable.

Still, to ease the nagging feeling, the governor called the military—as Grey had no actual police force to contact—and sent a request that they send a small troop over to check out the situation in the city. The Commander at the time was a little skeptical at this request, but obliged nonetheless. He called fourth a rag-tag team of amateurs; new to the job, yet eager to help where they could. They were told they were being sent on an "extra-special mission of utmost importance," when, in reality, their very mission was all too laughable by their superiors. Without much of a choice or place for argument, the small team of young people begrudgingly agreed. They knew they were being patronized, but what choice did they have?

A month went by with no reply from the team. The Commander wasn't too worried about it and had practically forgotten all about them; that is, until he received a letter a short time later. The letter was ripped and crumpled, scribbles in the corner and stains on the page. The handwriting was atrocious and the letter itself seemed to scream offense. However, the last few sentences stuck out most of all to the disgruntled Commander:

"We've got the situation here handled. No need to check us out or anything, but we'll be staying a lot longer. You losers will see how much greater we are than any one of you. Especially you, Mr. Commando.

-Hugs and kisses,

Secret Police"

Thinking this to be an absolute outrage, the Commander grew furious and tore the note up completely. He turned to the workers at the time and told them to completely erase the names of those amateurs out of their files. He told everyone to forget all about anything going on at the city of Grey and to work on their more important cases. The Grey situation was completely pushed to the side and quickly became forgotten altogether.

After all, what help would a place of perfection need?