Leon, Drake, Skye
Western Hemisphere, Earth Seven
I hear Shannon cry, and I know I've lost another. Drake, who is ahead of me, turns, but I push him hard to keep going. We can't stop for the dead, as much as we'd want too. We just don't have the time. The mission must come first. His sister, Skye, is leading, her eyes only looking forward, as a good soldier should.
I peer behind us and see the enemy trying to gain. There's only three of them, but time is of the essence. Joseph managed to power the device before he fell. He was the first we lost. Angelina got the doors opened before she fell. She was the second. And there was Shannon, trying to hold them off. There's only three of us left. Skye I don't worry about, but Drake? Perhaps Skye was right, he may not be ready yet.
I push those thoughts from my head, they lead to doubts. We must reach the portal, and we must go through. I wanted six, now I have three. Nothing ever goes the way it should, but we'll never give up.
"Here!" Skye shouts.
I stretch out my hands and shoot magnetic pulses at the door thanks to my techno-organic armor. It bursts open and Skye positions herself, tactile carbon rifle aimed, so we can follow. Drake see's the computer and immediately races for it. Skye fires several shots to slow our enemy while Drake types furiously.
Meanwhile, I look at it. A large circular object resting in the middle of a large warehouse in the middle of the wasteland of what was once the northern continent of this planets western hemisphere. This is what we've been trying to reach, this is what we've died for.
"Drake?" shouts Skye.
She continues to fire at our enemy, but they are almost upon us. I join her.
"Almost there," he mutters. "But this is different than time travel. Different equations, different sources, different mechanics."
"Guess what, we don't care!" she shouts. "Just turn the damn thing on!"
There was a time nobody talked to Drake like that, but those days are gone. They questioned me when I asked for him. They've all lost confidence in him. However, I still see the warrior, the fighter. He just needs to be reawakened.
"I got it!" he shouts.
Behind us the portal begins to hum and we can feel the air change. We feel a force pull us towards it as the space within the portal begins to crackle and glow. Then with a snap it opens.
"Now! Go!" I shout.
Skye spins and dashes towards it, followed by Drake. I run backwards towards it, providing cover from our enemies. Before I step through I feel the ground begin to shake as it commonly does. This world is being torn apart. After centuries of constant war, time travel, and a stripping of its resources, the very fabric of its existence is coming to an end.
But we are survivors. You have to be. Unfortunately our enemy is too, which is why we must follow them. I step through…..
New York City, Earth Prime
My eyes slowly open, and I immediately sit up right. It's dark, it's dirty, and I'm not at home. A minute ago I was coming in from my chores on the farm. Mama and Papa had called for me. We were going to have dinner. Now I'm here, wherever here is.
"Hey check this out," a voice calls out.
I look up and see three men walking towards me. They're each wearing sweatshirts with hoods pulled over them. One is reaching into his pocket, but I know he's drawing a knife, and not a gun, so I don't worry. How do I know that?
"Hey girl?" one calls out in apparent sarcasm. "Whatcha doing out this late?"
One walks ahead of the other two. Apparently he's the leader. His frame is small and wiry, probably quick. Again, why do I know that?
"Little girls shouldn't be out this late," the third says mockingly. "Maybe you need to come home with us."
"Stay where you are," I say flatly.
However, I'm slightly taken aback. I just spoke English. I don't know English. I'm from the Ukraine. I'm 16 years old. No I'm not! I'm older, and I speak and understand English. What is going on?
"Hey sweetheart," the leader says. They're only a few feet from me now. "You come home with us now."
He reaches with his hand to grab my arm. Without thinking, I grab his wrist and twist his arm so fast and strong I hear it break at the elbow. He bellows in pain and falls to his knees. I nearly gasp not only at my strength, but how naturally that came. Almost instinctually.
"Bitch!" one of the other yells.
They both throw themselves at me. I step to my left and knee one in the stomach. He keels over and pukes. The other tries to throw something at me, a glass bottle. But just as its about to hit my face, a loud ping fills the air and the bottle flies away. Then he charges, but I grab his arm and throw him into a buildings wall. His body falls lifelessly to the ground, but I see his chest heave, so he won't die.
When did I learn to do this?
I back away slowly from them, my heart racing a mile a minute. However, I take a deep breath to try and calm myself, and my heart slows itself almost immediately to normal, as if on command. The three men, between nursing their wounds, stare at me with wide eyes. They begin to crawl away slowly, their eyes never leaving me.
I don't want to be here. I have to figure out what's going on. How is any of this possible? Where am I anyway? I just need to get away.
I look up, and without thinking I leap. I soar effortlessly through the air and land on a rooftop. How is this possible, I just jumped over one hundred feet! However, even those thoughts in the forefront of my mind, I keep going. Its coming naturally, my instincts taking over. I run towards the opposite ledge, running faster than a human is suppose to go, and its easy; so easy. When I reach the edge I leap again, and I fly towards an even higher rooftop. I land hard, it hurts for a moment, but only a brief moment.
I see the other side, and a higher building, and I begin running again. My instincts tell me to laugh, enjoy this, and its starting to win. Maybe this isn't suppose to be possible, but it's amazing! I reach the ledge and leap again, flying higher. I repeat this several times until I can see clearly below me.
All the tall buildings, the bright lights, and a large river to the east. I'm in a major city. I've seen pictures of places like these in magazines and newspapers. I must be in America. But what city I'm unsure of, and how I got here I do not know.
My last memory is of home. Now I'm here, an instant later, and I can do all this. Am I dreaming? No, that I'm sure of. I'm also not sixteen. If I was, I'd be scared, confused; not calm and confident. I need answers. I need them now.
Special Agent Clarissa Decker
New York City, Earth Prime
"Alright what's the problem here?" I ask the two officers who are guarding the yellow police line.
It's late, and I'd rather be reading a good book on the couch drinking a glass of wine than be here. But here I am. One of the best parts of working for the FBI is that you're always on call. I'm saying that sarcastically of course.
"This is a crime scene ma'am," one of them says.
"Come on boys," I say with a sly smile. "Don't make me prove mine's bigger than yours."
They both raise their eyebrows, and I draw my badge. The one reads it and looks to the other.
"Agent Clarissa Decker," he says.
They frown at each other, but move aside to let me pass. I smile and nod, a little more smugly than I should. I continue through this nice plush apartment to find my victim, already talking to the locals. A detective sees me and heads towards me.
"And what is the FBI's interest in this?" he asks impatiently.
"Good to see you again, Detective Rosen," I say with a fake smile.
I happen to know this Detective has applied three times to the FBI in Chicago. So far no luck, though I don't know why. He must be looking for a good mark t put on his resume. That's all fine and good, but it can't be with this guy.
"Answer the question," he says.
I look past him to the victim. He's sitting on his bed, wrapped in a blanket, holding a mug of steamy tea. He looks like he's sweating profusely. Behind him the window is broken, but no glass on the inside. That means whoever attacked him leapt through the window.
"He's connected to someone of interest to us," I say plainly.
I look right at the victim when I say this, and stare piercingly at him. He stares right back at me and takes another drink of his tea.
"Care to share who that is?" Rosen asks.
"Nope," I say and push past him.
He opens his mouth to protest, but I hold out my hand to silence him. He knows me well enough to know that's all he's going to get from me. I sit down next to my victim and shake my brown hair behind my shoulders with another sly smile.
"You're an engineer aren't you?" I ask with a tone that implies I already know the answer.
He swallows, and takes another drink.
"Special Agent," I hear Rosen say. However, his tone is more serious this time. There's no bullshit in what he's about to say, so I give him a look.
"Yes," I say.
"Just listen to his story first," he says with a worried look. "It's not what you think."
"Ok," I say turning back to the doctor. I shrug and wait.
"She came to kill me," he stutters.
"Who did?" I ask.
"I don't know," he says. "But she was strong, …. fast,…. ruthless."
"You seemed to make it out of there ok," I say.
"Only because someone else stopped her," he says.
"Who?" I ask already starting to grow tired.
"I don't know," he says with wide eyes and shaking his head. "But he looked like half a man, half a machine."
Central Park, New York City, Earth Prime
A humans body does seem to grow weak with age. Even getting up after sitting for an hour or so is a struggle these days. What's worse, a storms coming, that's really going to feel good on these knees.
"Sir," a voice behind me asks. "Would you like anything else."
"That should be all tonight Jacob," I reply.
"As you say sir," he says.
I hear him shut the door behind him, and I pour myself another drink. I'm in my study and staring out the large window. I choose this place specifically for the view. It over looks Central Park, where they are suppose to arrive. Every night I've been watching, and waiting. Another storm is coming, and it will be here soon. I've done everything possible up to this point. Now I have to wait.
I swivel in my chair and look one more time at the photos on my desk. There are three of them, and I study them closely.
The first is of a young man, about nineteen years of age. He's already in place. The second is of a young woman, who I must find soon. The third is of another woman, in her early thirties. She's with the FBI, and I made certain to befriend her years ago. However, I haven't told her anything of what's to come, and it will shock her.
But for now, I have to sit and wait. More are coming. I was assured they would be here in time. However, each passing day does nothing for what they call nerves. I guess that's why I started having drinks during my watches. That seems to soothe the nerves.
I swivel around and, drop my glass. I don't hear the crash, or feel the liquid seep into my slippers. This is because I saw a bright red flash over the park.
Could it be them?
Leon, Drake, Skye
It hurt like hell, even for us. It felt like we were being turned inside out, disassembled and reassembled, and stretched in a thousand directions. But it ends as quickly as it began, and suddenly my vision becomes clear and I land sharply on the ground.
"Leon!" I call out.
"Over here," I hear him grumble.
It takes a few moments, but my strength returns. Sometimes I'm still amazed at how quickly we can recover from injuries with our Techno-organic armor. However, it must reduce with age. Leon's is starting to take longer and longer to heal, build up magnetic forces, and regain his strength. However, I don't have time to worry about that now.
I run towards him, and take moment to notice what we landed on. The ground is soft, and there's green blades growing from it. I slowly run my hands through it. They're alive!
"Skye," he says when I finds him.
I help him up while holstering my rifle. When he's up I adjust my hair to keep it out of my eyes. The trip must have us all disheveled, but as always, I'm the first up. Just as they taught me.
"Where's Drake?" Leon ask.
"Haven't seen him," I says dismissively.
"Over here," we hear in the distance.
We quickly dash through these trees and find him standing in a clearing. He's looking upwards. We follow his gaze, and can't look away. All we can do is stare above. I've never seen anything like it in my entire life, but I've heard stories. We've all heard these stories.
"What are those?" I ask in a hushed voice, my eyes wide and mouth hanging slightly open.
"I'm not sure," Leon begin. "But….."
"Stars," Drake says interrupting me. "Those are stars."