Articles - ArticlesPart Four
Somewhere below Rome Blue, in a tunnel dark tunel within the abandoned subway two friends whisper as a team of Omni-Pol is closing on them.
"My god Tom, we're going to spend the rest of our lives in a cell!"
"Calm down Nick, they're going to hear us!"
The fixer pulls down a gun out of his backpack.
The young bureaucrat's eyes go wide open in fear.
"Oh no, I'm not going to fight them, you have any idea what they do to people who resist arrest? they'll hang us upside down in some dark room and beat us to a pulp!"
"We're not going to fight them, this is for us. We're going to reclaim out of here."
"You know that weapon won't fire on another employee, only POL, AF and InternOps have weapons that can fire on us, it's useless!"
"I modified it, it will fire on us, and then self-destruct 15 seconds after the first shot is fired, so they won't get any fingerprints or DNA. Everything within 10 meters will be ashes and we'll be safe in Omni-1."
At the end of the tunnel. "Sir, I hear something." The officer points down the tunnel where the two friends are hiding.
The Captain shouts "This is Omni-Pol! Surrender now or face perma-death!" as he and his men point their weapons down the tunnel.
"No time Nick, see you at reclaim buddy!"
He points the modified weapon at his friend at point blank and shoots, turning him into ashes.
Hearing the shot, the officers open fire thinking they're being attacked.
The fixer drops to the ground and points the gun at himself, he has only a few seconds to kill himself. As he is pulling the trigger he feels a shot on his left shoulder, not from his gun but from the officers; his body is going numb at a fast rate.
With the last remaining strength in his body he forces his hand to point at himself, and pulls the trigger. The officers see their suspect turn into ashes.
"Dammit! we lost him!" screams the Captain, frustrated knowing he'll have to answer to his superiors for his failure.
Officer O'connor runs forward and says "Not yet sir, if we get his DNA we can retrieve his insurance records and know who he is. If he reclaimed nearby we can still get him sir!". He begins to scan the area.
"Good thinking O'Connor! I knew you had potential dammit!" replies the Captain.
The fixer scans the area and checks DNA records. "I got it sir! His name is..."
The officers never get to hear the name, the gun self-destructs and instantly kills all six men on the spot, leaving a confused Captain and his five men facing a reclaim terminal in Rome Blue a few seconds later with no memory of what had taken place at the subway.
Meanwhile somewhere in Omni-Trade at another reclaim terminal.
"What happened Tom?quot;
"Don't know Nick, but my guess since we're here is that we got caught and had to use my backup plan. Looks like it worked, we're free still."
"What backup plan?quot;
"Lets go to my apartment, I'll explain there buddy."
The bureaucrat nods and they walk toward one of the many highrise apartment buildings.
Later, in the middle of the afternoon at the War Academy in Athen Shire, Andrea Machioni receives a message from Avalon.
She taps her wrist and the small screen attached to it flashes and shows an old bearded man in what appears to be a metal suit of armor.
"Hello miss Machioni. I'm sir Hogwart from the knights of Avalon, answering your inquiry about Joss Teshin. I'm sorry to say that your friend died a few weeks ago during an ambush by Cyborgs in the area."
The woman lowers her head, her fears are confirmed, another friend lost. Her eyes tear up, but she knows her duty is to continue her investigation. She wipes her eye and looks at her wrist again.
"Thank you for getting back to me so quickly sir. Did he have any family or friends I can speak with?quot;
"He had no family that we knew of, and since he was...well, a loner, he had no close friends even amongst the knights. We do have his belongings stored, nobody has claimed them. Perhaps you would like me to send them to you miss? I doubt anyone else will claim them after all this time."
"Thank you sir, I'd appreciate that very much."
"No problem miss Machioni, is there anything else I can do for you?quot;
Shaking her head lightly she replies "No sir, thank you."
"Alright, if you do need anything let me know. I trained in the War Academy when I was a young lad under the tutelage of your uncle if I'm not mistaken, may his soul rest in peace. Don't hesitate if you ever need my assistance ma'am."
"Thank you sir Hogwart, I'll keep that in mind. Good day to you sir."
"May the light of freedom shine upon you ma'am, good day."
The small screen on her wrist flashes and goes black.
One of the elder academy tutors approaches her and asks "Andrea, where did all the stuff in the supplies room come from? don't tell me you 'acquired' more stuff from that despicable trader back in West Athen, please tell me someone donated that."
With a smile she replies "Don't worry dear John, no dirty deals this time around. We had a generous donation from a clan, two hundred million. In exchange we allow them to train their young recruits on our grounds, which raises morale in the Academy, and also good public relations my friend."
"God Andrea, now we're renting our place to some clan? who are they?quot;
"Mercury Dragons Clan."
With eyes wide open the old man shouts "Are you insane? Their leader is a traitor! he founded and lead the Council of Ares against the Council of Truth to take over for god's sake! how can you let that man train his people here!".
Several guards and tutors turn their heads in their direction.
With a gentle smile she tells him "Times have changed old friend, and from what I hear he lead the CoA with the intention to shake up the CoT, not to take them down. Anyways, it doesn't matter anymore, neither council exist now. What does matter is that we were almost out of supplies, and low in funds. Whatever problem you have with the dragons or their leader, put it aside for the good of the academy."
The old man shouts "If your uncle was alive he would never allow this!"
The woman's eyes narrow and the man steps back surprised at the anger in her eyes. Everyone turns their heads and begin to walk away from them, knowing what happens to those who get caught in Andrea's wrath.
Trying to hold back her anger she answers with a serious tone.
"Listen John, you were my uncle's best friend, and a friend to my family for many years, I respect that. But let me be clear on this. I am in charge of the War Academy, I have kept it from closing several times and I will do what is necessary to keep this place open as long as we need fighters to stop Omni-Tek from destroying everything that we hold dear! Now you can stay here and accept things as they are, or do something else. I'll respect you either way, but I have no time to argue with anyone inside the academy. Now if you'll excuse me I have things to do."
She walks away almost stomping her feet, everyone in her path moves out of the way quickly.
The old man shakes his head.
"Damn Machioni temper, they're all the same. What the hell are you all looking at? get back to work!"
He sighs, turns around and begins to write a list of the supplies he'll need to bring out for the next session of Archery he is teaching.
Meanwhile inside the academy, Andrea enters her office.
"Open secure channel to Windguaerd Wagner." she commands to the terminal at her desk.
"Opening secure channel to Windguaerd Wagner." a robotic voice replies.
She hears a recording. "Hello, I'm not available at this time. Please leave your name and grid code and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you leave me junk messages with unwanted advertising I will track you down, and kill you. Have a nice day!"
"Now that's an efficient way to keep a mailbox clean of spam, why didn't I think of that?quot;
She leans down and touches the screen to leave a message. "Hello Kyle, it's Andrea. I've got bad news and maybe good news. Bad news is that my friend died a few weeks back in Avalon, fighting cyborgs."
Her head lowers, feeling of loss of a friend, but she continues.
"However sir Hogwart was kind enough to send me his belongings, maybe there is something left that can shed some light on our investigation. My friend's name was Joss Teshin, he was not very social, I think I was the only friend he made while he was training at our academy. I doubt you'll find much on him, he was a quiet man. Hopefully his stuff will arrive intact in a few days, with all the notum wars going on between Avalon and Athen Shire, there is a possiblity that the ship carrying it may get shot down. Please contact me when you receive this message Kyle."
She touches the screen again and her message is sent.
Looking outside her office window she ponders if agreeing to his request was a wise decision. She turns to leave her office and sees the holographic image of her father by the door.
Thinking back a few years she remembers his last words 'No matter what Andy, keep the academy going, at all costs'. Turning to the window she sees a group of young men training with an tutor.
"At all costs dad, I'm keeping it open." she whispers to herself.
Without doubts, she walks out of her office, with a mental list of work yet to be done.
Released July 25, 29477 (2003)
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