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|This article, Gears of War: Hidden Desires, was written by User: WeirderandWeird. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
A/N: Please don't be afraid to leave me a review, I do need constructive and supportive reviews by my readers. Also due to my busy life I may not be able to write soon enough, please do not berate me for this, as it is unavoidable.
Two different worlds collide into one. A Locust priestess, being protected by Delta. The Locust are desperate to win the war, they have now turned against her. She dies, the Human race dies with her.
Chapter One: Grave News Edit
The rain poured down heavily against the roof of the COG headquarters, their patters can be heard from the people inside who were mutter amongst themselves. On the far side of the room was a computer with a woman who was typing furiously. Trying her hardest not to get distracted from the commotion coming from the group of men.
"What do you mean by the Queen knowing your father?" Asked the one man in a faded hat. His eyes were hung down from the sleep bags beneath them, lack of sleep was common in the army.
"I mean that she mentioned him," the other replied irritably "how she knows him is beyond my knowledge."
The first man sighed and rubbed his forehead in deep thought, he turned to the woman who was still sat at the rusty computer.
"Anya, any news from the other squad?" he asked, his voice full of authority.
"Negative sir," she responded "not a word since this morning's battle."
The man sighed again, it looked like the squads must've been ambushed or something, normally they would call in every half an hour or so. He walked away from the group and turned to the desk behind him, he looked around and shuffled a few papers. He turned around and handed them to the grizzly sergeant.
"Looks like you and your men are going to have to find that squad, Sergeant Fenix," he told them, "and call in if you do, if not request a pick-up."
The sergeant groaned, he was fed up of his squad being the one running after people and doing missions for other squads, it was always Delta this and Delta that, they hadn't had a break since the year previously when he had deployed the Lightmass bomb into the Locust tunnels and bomb the crap out of the monsters.
"Fine," he muttered tiredly "but you owe us."
"I owe you nothing, Fenix!"
"Sir, my men haven't has a break since last year, we had just sunk Jacinto and are running around after people on an island that has never been directly involved with the war."
"Well, after you complete a few missions for us," the Colonel said "then maybe we'll consider giving your squad a week off."
"Sir, that would be appreciated." The blonde man cut in from behind the sergeant.
The Colonel sighed and folded his arms across his chest, "Get to it Fenix."
Chapter Two: Discovery Edit
The rain turned into drizzle which helped the four men that made up the Delta squad. They trudged through the muddy water-soaked road that seemed to be endless, they have been searching for the missing squad for a good hour and a half and there was still no sign of them. Colonel Hoffman was now getting anxious and has been constantly demanding the men to keep searching for them down their ears in the comms. The men were soaked right through their skin, and it was making them uncomfortable since they were wearing heavy armour.
"This is getting ridiculous," Damon Baird, the squads mechanic moaned "where the hell could they be? All they had to do was to deliver the most important item that the Locust are crazy about, and anyway, what is it and what makes it important?"
"How the hell should I know?" the moody Sergeant Marcus Fenix responded irritably "They say its some kind of diamond or something, I dunno."
His best friend, Dominic Santiago was pondering silently behind the group although he was contantly making sure he kept up, they wouldn't wait for him if he fell behind although he knew deep down that if they did lose him, only Marcus would risk the shit to save him, as he did when his father begged for help years ago that landed him in prison. Marcus would risk it all again for Dom, he knew that, he was all that Marcus had left.
"Do they know what this," Dom thought for a moment before continuing, "diamond does? I mean if the Locust go crazy for it then it must have powers or something."
"He has a point man," Cole agreed "my train senses are tingling."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, Spiderman." Baird said sarcastically "and yes, Dom has for the first time in his career made a good decent point."
Dom scowled at his comment but instantly relaxed his face, he knew Baird would only bitch more if he saw his expression; it was normal for Baird to be bitchy, otherwise there would be something wrong, if Baird stops the sarcasm they instantly knew shit was going on. The drizzle stopped for once which cheered the men up for a bit although their soaked armour was now rubbing against their skin. But there was no point in complaining, this as army life and it was the "Shut up and get on with it" attitude installed in their minds that made them get on with it. The road turned into a forest instantly before their eyes, and then the trees vanished from view, Dom blinked for a moment and the trees were back, then they faded out of view.
"Marcus, did you..."
"Yeah, Dom, I see it too."
The four stopped and watched in bewilderment as the trees continued to fade in and out of view, when they vanished they could see the road continuing, but then when the trees came back there was no sign of the road.
"What the hells going on?" Baird muttered
The men walked around inspecting the area, Cole looked up to see if anything was above him, his heart stopped.
That was all that had to be said for the others to understand what he was seeing, they followed his eyes and above him was the five man squad they were look for, they were floating in the air, lifeless, their bodies mangled and torn to shreds and the blood formed a puddle in the air.
"Oh my god" Dom mumbled in horror. This was going to be hard to forget and easy to remember for the rest of his life, he had never seen anything like it and he knew the others hadn't either. Dom tore his eyes away from the dead mangled bodies that were floating in the sky and looked to the floor, and saw something in a muddle puddle. It was shiny, the light broke off it in rainbow crystal shards. He took one hand off the lancer and wiped th mud off the object. It was a sapphire coloured diamond, it was large in size, Dom contemplated for a moment as to why they hadn't noticed a huge muddle lump on the ground, but then worked out that they must've thought it was a rock or something. He picked up the diamond and within that second the dead bodies fell to the ground like ragdolls.
"Shit!" Marcus bellowed in horror, but as soon as his eyes fixed on Dom and the huge muddy gem in his hands, he knew why. The group gather round Dom to inspect the object intently.
"That must be the artefact the Locust go crazy for," Baird said "It must've destroyed the squad or something, I dunno but I don't like it."
"Da Cole train don't like it either," Cole agreed "lets leave that shit here or something."
"I don't think so," Marcus replied "If the Locust go mad over this thing then I say we return it to base, we give the Locust what they want, for all we know this thing could wipe out humanity."
Nobody dared to argue against this, Marcus was right. They can't let the Locust have this thing.
"Time for the long trip home then." Baird mumbled, as he went to gather the COG tags from the dead bodies.
Chapter Three: Mystery Edit
She gazed down into the dark abyss below, her precious diamond is missing. And if her Queen found out, she would be dead. Ember closed her eyes tightly in frustration. She knew this was the place her diamond would go to, but it isn't here. Which can only mean one thing, it had vanished, and there was a chance that the Humans would find it. And this was incredibly dangerous. The Humans wouldn't know how to control its powers, how to control their temptations.
She took a deep breath, gathered her strength and dived into the darkness below, to the holiest place known to the Locust.
The blue diamond that the Delta squad had found sat snugly on Hoffman's desk. Where the light shone off the crystal surface, it would cast a magnificent blue glow around the room, Hoffman was stunned. His voice had failed him everytime he tried to ask what this thing was. Marcus stood to the one side, his icy blue eyes fixed on the diamond. His mind was racing through thoughts as to what this object could be. Was this the treasure the Locust go crazy for? What about it made this the most powerful thing on the planet?
No one knew, not even Baird the Humans closest thing to a Locust expert. He too was speechless. Dom and Cole could only guess how much money they would get if they sold this thing to a museum, but their thoughts were too overwhelmed by its beauty. Everything about this diamond shouted "Look at me, look at me!" Dom moaned silently over the headache he was getting simply from looking at this thing. It was Cole who broke the silence.
"So, what do we do now?" He asked, his eyes studying the shape of the gem.
Hoffman sighed, "I think we should hand this over to the scientists first, we need to find out more about this thing before we can use it on the Locust."
"But sir," Baird said, "we don't even know much about this thing, how can we use it against the Locust if we don't know how to control it?"
"We'll find out after we've done some tests on it, in the meantime, you boys will have a day off, like I promised you." Hoffman answered tiredly. "But if we get a lead, you are in charge, I can't trust any other squad with this thing."
The men nodded, and all eyes returned to the diamond that rested on the broken down desk.
"Marcus!" Anya called, she had been running around looking for him for the past half an hour. Marcus stopped in his tracks and turned to see her catching up, when she did, he turned and slowly walked again.
"What's up Anya?" He grumbled, still treading on but slowly enough so Anya could catch her breath.
"That squad, the one who was delivering that diamond." She gasped
"Yeah? What about it?"
"It took five different squads to deliver that diamond to certain locations." She replied still gasping for air. "It killed every single squad its been with."
Marcus blinked, and missed at least one step but nonetheless he carried on walking, Anya knew it takes alot to stop Marcus in his tracks. She had to walk really fast to catch up to him, He gazed around the hallway making sure no one was around before cornering Anya to the wall gently.
"What do you mean, He asked, "that it killed every squad its been with? It hasn't killed me or any one on Delta."
Anya relaxed a little knowing that he wasn't going to hurt her, she didn't know where the feeling came from, he would never hurt her, she knew that. She looked around making sure no one could see, because it looked rather awkward the way Marcus had her cornered to the wall.
"I mean by every squad, dead." She replied "I don't know why it hasn't harmed you or anything."
"I think its to do with skin contact on the diamond, if it feels skin of someone maybe it's power comes out." he pondered. Anya nodded, maybe that was why, afterall it never hurt anyone on the Delta squad.
"When is the results out from the experiment?" he asked her quietly.
"They reckon next week." She answered, she could feel the tension rising between them, but they managed to remain in control after all they didn't want anyone seeing what was going on and not to mention that the Control room was around the corner. Marcus breathed quietly before moving away from Anya so she was no longer against the wall.
"Best wait and see then." He mumbled.
"Yeah." She agreed.
"I'll see you later." He said and with that he walked off leaving Anya alone in the corridor. Anya blinked and then sighed, she turned around and walked back to the Control room.
Ember knelt down before the Trinity of Worms symbol and prayed silently, in hope that her diamond would return, or if that was not possible, for her to find it. It used to be a popular praying spot for the Locust but ever since Skorge had been killed the numbers of Locust visiting to pray had declined greatly. Ember wasn't bothered by this, she had always preferred quiet spots to pray. Today, she was on her own which made her more comfortable.
Finally after an hour praying, begging the Gods to return her diamond, she picked herself up from her kneeling position and slowly walked out the temple, closed the solid golden door behind her. Something suddenly clicked in her mind that told her she would have to look for it herself, and that fate would bring an extra surprise with it.
Chapter Four: Mission Edit
We have survived yet again. The foolish humans thought they had us wiped out, wiped from the face of Sera. But unlike the Humans, we are experts at survival, we know how to rebuild our civilisation, we unite with each other. Whilst they fall apart like barbarians. Somehow we managed to rebuild Nexus where it stood before the Humans flooded their last hope. In a matter of weeks, we have built Nexus again where Jacinto once was.
Now we shall rise again like we had before. We will make sure that we are victorious and that we get our bittersweet revenge. We have now gained full control of Ephyra, no one, not even the Humans can stop us now. They will perish with the Lambent; We will make sure of it.
Ember stood behind Queen Myraah as she gave her speech to the Locust crowd stood before her. At the end of her speech, they all roared in unison. She leaned against her staff tiredly as she waited for the Queen to finish with whatever else she had to say and then lead her and her courtiers to the throne room. Finally, Myraah stood down from the stand and walked through the stone doors behind them.
It was unbelievable as to how quick, as a species, they could rebuild the whole city, six weeks after the Humans sunk theirs. Ember followed with the other important Locust chiefs, ambassadors and priests trailing behind her. With Skorge dead and Raam destroyed, Ember was now in charge of Myraahs duties and orders. The throne room was the warmest place in the whole castle, mainly because of the Immulsion below. The stony walls were crested with Immulsion crystals which Myraah was going to use, for what no one knows yet. Myraah walked gracefully to her chair and sat down carefully. Ember stood before her at the bottom of the steps. The others were nervously stood on rusted metal platform, below they could see the Immusion. In the back of their heads, they knew that if they made one mistake they would go straight down into the Immulsion without mercy.
"Ember," Myraah said softly. "I know your diamond is missing, it is not your fault this time."
Ember concealed her surprise with great effort, she bowed down before her and then glanced up gently to her Queen.
"Your Majesty," She whispered. "Is my diamond well, I have prayed for its safety and its return."
Myraah nodded, she seemed to understand everything. She waved her servant over gracefully, the poor Locust was only young, he looked like he was terrified which wasn't normal for any Locust creature as they were suppose to be tough and fearless, he wasn't going to last long in his job, Ember could see that. The Locust handed over a scroll and then bowed as he stepped away. She then waved Ember forward of which she obliged.
"This scroll states that anyone who loses their gem in the hands of any creature suffers the pain of death." She explained sternly. "You best hope no creature, particularly Humans, have got their hands on it."
The priestess nodded without fear, Myraah sighed harshly and handed the scroll to her.
"Read through the guidelines. They will help you understand of what the consequences could be when you lose that diamond. Maybe it could help you find it."
Ember nodded again and gazed down at the delicate scroll that was wrapped up tight in her hands. She then placed in the pocket of her cloak, she bowed before Myraah again and walked out of the throne room and into the stoned corridor, she climbed up the stairs to her study tower. The candles flickered on automatically as the power of her presence filled the room. The priestess sat on the wooden chair at the desk. She took out the scroll and undone the ribbon that held the scroll tightly. Her eyes scanned the empty scroll which puzzled her, then three words written in Ink formed on the delicate paper.
New Jacinto, Vectes
Ember felt her heart sink inside her, she was dead for sure. But she was also, oddly enough, impressed, Vectes. What an interesting place for the remnants of Jacinto, no doubt that Myraah would be highly interested in hearing of this, this could be the end of the Humans now. They are trapped on a puny island and are probably on limited ammo and technology so they would be easy to wipe out, the only problem is that the Island is surrounded by water. Which the Locust hated more than anthing. But for now Ember only focused on getting her diamond back first. Then she will inform Myraah of the Humans new settlement.
She tied the scroll back up with the ribbon and stuffed it in her cloak pocket again, she picked herself up from the chair and marched down the stairs silently and continued down the corridor past the throne room to the Reaver stables. There stood her most prized Reaver, it seemed delighted to see her again.
"Hello boy," She whispered to him. "Did you miss me?"
The Reaver hissed in response. If only the Humans could see this, they would be shocked. Of course they were used to seeing Reavers as killing creatures. Which was true, Reavers were used to transport Locust and kill Humans, but they were also like pets, like horses almost. The reaver lowered itself for Ember to climb on. And then flew out of the stables and into the sky above.
Chapter Five: Race Against Time Edit
It' a quiet day, just how Dom liked it because so far, he didn't want to be reminded by the horrors of the Locust. Not to mention that it gave him the chance to remember his wife, his childhood sweetheart, his Maria, and the two beautiful children he had with her, Benedicto and Sylvia. They were his foundation of life, his support during tough times, but now they're gone. Destroyed by those monsters, he could never forgive the Locust for what they had done.
He sat on the beach, with his bare feet dug into the soft sand. Gazing down at the picture Maria had given him so that he can remember her when he was away. Now it was the only thing he had to remind him of the life he once had, to remind him that she was real. Dom still felt numb from when he had to euthanize her, he almost shot himself after he done it, but then he remembered that he had one more person. Marcus, his childhood friend. Killing himself now would only drive Marcus on the brink of darkness. Dom flipped the picture to the back, it had the message that Maria wrote for him.
"So you always have me with you. I love you Dominic. Always. Maria x"
Dom held the picture closely to his chest, not wanting to lose it ever. He closed his eyes tightly shut as a tear rolled down his soft cheek, after what seemed like years, he opened them again and kissed Maria on the picture before returning it into his pocket. Now he was going to have to cope without her, he has to be there for Marcus no matter what.
Anya stretched her arms tiredly as she waited in the new control room with Hoffman, Marcus and Baird. She had never been involved in highly classified before, so it was the first time she was let in on the government secrets. The sun was now beginning to set, leaving a reddish-orange glow in the sky. After half an hour there was a knock at the door as the scientist entered the room, followed by another who was carrying the diamond wearing gloves that went up to his elbow, the rest of his arms were covered by the labcoat sleeves.
"Well?" Hoffman asked impatiently, it was clear that he had enough of waiting. "What's the results?"
"Sir, there is alot of energy inside this diamond." The first scientist said nervous, signalling the other scientist to place the diamond on the stand that was on Hoffman's desk. "The energy is so powerful, it can destroy the planet."
"Humans must not have skin contact with the diamond." The second scientist added. "So if anyone is to handle the diamond, must wear gloves in doing so."
Marcus and Baird gazed at the diamond with fascination, Baird in particular looked like he wanted to get close to the diamond to study it in closer detail. From what Anya heared, Baird had a keen interest in Locust culture and the like, even though he hated the creatures.
"Does it belong to the Locust?" Marcus asked, although he pretty much knew the answer, he wanted to be sure.
"Yes," the first scientist responded. "We have also managed to establish some information from it, that suggest that it belongs to the new Locust priestess. Only she can control the diamond, so we must prevent her from getting to it if she ever comes looking for it."
Hoffman wasted no more time. "Then send it to the vault, make sure there is at least four men guarding the room. We cannot afford to lose this diamond to the Locust, more importantly to the new priestess."
The scientists nodded at the same time and the second reached over and carefully removed the diamond off the stand before following the first scientist out of the room. Baird now looked like he wanted to chase after them and steal the diamond so he could study it himself. Anya was amazed at how tight the security had to be with the thing. Marcus was lost in deep thought whilst Hoffman seemed to strain. No sooner had the scientists left there was a sharp knock on the door.
"Come in." Hoffman barked sharply, the door opened to reveal one of the analysts from the other control room. She was panting out of breath as though she had been running for her life.
"Sir!" She gasped. "There are reports of a reaver hovering around in the sky. Analysts have managed to identify that there is a Locust on that reaver."
The colour drained from Hoffman's face, it was the last thing he needed, if one Locust knows where the remnants of the Human civilisation are then no doubt that he will inform the rest of the surviving Locust of where they are.
"Get every gear out there except for the ones that are guarding the vault." he ordered. "Fenix, Baird the rest of the squad and accompany the men guarding the vault."
Marcus and Baird nodded as they immediately rushed out of the room to find Cole and Dom. Hoffman rubbed his forehead as he felt a headache coming on.
"Anya, keep us up to date with location of that reaver."
"Yes, sir." she said and instantly returned to her desk and computer, typing away furiously as she logged back on. Hoffman rushed out the control room the join the rest of the ears outside. He could only hope that there was only one Locust.
Ember hovered in the sky, reading the parchment with interest. The word had no changed to,
"The vault, New Jacinto COG base."
Grinning, she returned to the parchment into her cloak pocket and guided her reaver around the town. Below she could see the humans pointing their fingers up at her, gawking at her like she was something unusual. At the same time there was a scurry of Gear rushing out of base, aiming their guns at her.
"Well, here goes nothing." she told herself and dived down into the crowded streets. The Humans running out of the way and into buildings screaming whilst the Gears were knocked right off their feet. After searching around the base for the best possible entrance, she decided to go through the front door.
"This should be easy."
Chapter Six: Interview With The Enemy Edit
The humans had a very weird way of hiding infinitely precious things. Ember had spent a maximum of ten minutes trying to locate her diamond. She threw one COG soldier after another, burning down desks and whatever else that stood in her way. She had reached to the stairwell that led downwards which she guessed would lead to the vault, pushing three soldiers over the stair banister as she strode downwards, nothing could stop her. She reached to the bottom floor and blasted through more soldiers who were trying to stop her, or even better kill her but to no success. She finally reached to the vault which was at the end of the corridor, heavily guarded with eight men. One of them, who was wearing a do-rag bellowed "There she is, make sure she doesn't get to the diamond!".
Ember smirked, she had been through hundreds of soldiers on her way down here, what made them think that they could stop her now. She slowly walked up towards them, and they reacted instantly with heavy fire. All it took was for Ember to lazily wave her arm to the side and the bullets disintergrate in thin air, the soldiers kept firing. She sent a power blast towards the soldiers, which only knocked down four of the men who shook violently before collapsing onto the floor. Stunned, Ember waved her arm to send another shock towards them. Nothing happened. Ember blinked in surprise and studied each man. Why couldn't she harm them with her powers? Ember sent a firewave towards them men. Again nothing happened. One of them, the blonde one wearing a pair of goggles stupidly on his forehead sniggered.
"What's the matter Merlin? Your magical powers can't hurt us?" He sneered.
Ember glared at them, they have obviously managed to touch the diamond and live. It must've decided to protect them from the magic it gave her, how in the name of the trinity of worms did they survive touching the diamond? She was in deep shit with the queen now, that's for sure.
"I need my diamond back, if you don't mind." She hissed angrily. "It belongs to me."
The blonde still kept his sinister sneer on his face. "Do you honestly think we're going to give it to you easily?" He asked, "How desperately do you need it?"
"Maybe, but let me ask you this first." Ember said firmly, straightening herself up. "How did you manage to touch the diamond and live?"
Baird blinked, but his sneer did not leave his face. "What do you mean?"
It wasn't the Locust priestess who replied, it was Marcus. "She means that the diamond kills every human that touches it bare hand."
Baird's expression turned to a puzzled look before realisation hit him hard. "Ahhh," He grinned, "Now I know, we touched the diamond with our gloves and it reacted to our presence, but it couldn't tell whether we were Human or Locust, so it presumes we're the latter and protects us from your shit." He nodded towards Ember as he explained. Baird smirked as he walked up to Ember fearlessly mixed in with sarcasm.
"Which means that if I touch you..." He added, reaching over to Ember, removing his COG issued glove as he did. Ember cowered back furiously in bid not to be touched. Baird sniggered nastily.
"Ooh dear, looks like you're in deep shit, looks like you're never going to get your diamond again." Ember turned to leave, but saw another man stood there blocking the doorway with what seemed like hundreds more of the COG soldiers, each with their guns trained on her. Ember snarled furiously, but she also felt despair. She felt empty and weak, which meant she was powerless and that she could not get out of there, the Gears could kill her easily. And it was those men who had drained her abilities with their presence.
Baird chuckled sarcastically. "Now you can't get out of here, you can die now because we've blocked your 'talents'."
The man behind her cleared his throat and Baird instantly became silent, listening carefully for what Hoffman had to say next.
"Now, I'm going to ask you some questions. If you make any attempt to escape, or remain silent you will be killed." He said gruffly. "First of all, what is your name and what is the purpose of the diamond?"
Ember blinked slowly and sighed. "My name is Ember," She replied simply. "As for the diamond, it is a gift handed down to me by the Trinity of worms. Its purpose is to give the individual the power to destroy the world. Or if that were not possible, to destroy the world itself. However as I am its controller, I can change that to simply killing only humans. So if you were to kill me now, you will all die straight after. Every single human being, gone."
The man blinked in silence that followed after her answer. Her gazed at her, thinking on what to do now. "But why didn't the diamond kill my men after they brought it here?"
"Well, if you were here a little earlier, you would've heard the idiot who explained why." She said smiling, she was feeling a little confident now, they would have no intention to kill her. "Their hands were covered when they held the diamond. The resisted the temptation to touch it bare skin. Therefore the diamond did not have enough information from their presence to tell if they were Human or Locust, so the diamond initially presumes they are Locust. Therefore they live, and are given minor abilities and protection from my powers."
The man listened intently to all the information she gave them. She knew deep down that they don't trust her of course, but they would not kill her, knowing that if they did, they would all die straight after her. She waited patiently for what the man would say next. He was lost in deep thought before pressing down into something that was in his ear.
"Yes lieutenant. I'm afraid plans have changed, explain that to the chairman, send him the recording from JACK of our interview..." He went more quiet and muttered into whatever it was. Ember paid no attention, she took turns to study each gear in the room, including the ones that were blocking her way from the diamond. The gears behind her were more interesting oddly enough except for the blonde one, he looked like someone had took a good punch straight in his face.
Her attention returned to the leader in front of her with the gears surrounding him, their guns still trained on her. Though they seemed to relax a little.
"Alright men, things have changed, Delta, lead the priestess to the control room, we'll continue our little chat there."
Chapter Seven: More Answers Edit
Ember sat on the wooden chair watching each man in the room look at her in disgust as though she was a piece of dirt although she couldn't blame them, afterall she is a Locust, a creature that every single Human being on this planet hated so much with their guts. She ignored the disgusted glares they threw at her and instead focused on getting comfortable on the broken chair. She was in a control room or so that was what the Humans called it, she felt a little culture shock at how they operated their soldiers; she could tell that they weren't as organised, loyal and patriotic as the Locusts were.
"So," Came a strict voice from behind her. "You're the Locust priestess that had come searching for the diamond, is that correct?"
Ember turned to see a man, he was wearing a grey suit with medals pinned on the left side of his chest. He looked aged and tired and his hair was grey and balding. So, this must be the chairman, she could tell by the way the soldiers in the room instantly straightened up with respect even though she could also tell that they hated him.
"Yes, that is correct." She replied simply though with a little attitude, unlike the other soldiers who instantly gave the man 'respect'. He wasn't going to get any from her, after all, he's the enemies leader and to show him any gratitude or repect in some way was fraternizing which was punished with a swift and heavy blow of a sledgehammer to the head personally by the queen.
"May I ask, what use is the diamond to you?" He asked, slowing walking in front of her so she could see him without having to turn around. He leaned against the desk in front of her and folded his arms waiting for an answer.
"Everything, it gives me insight on the world, it helps me see what the enemy is planning to attack next and it gives me some of its powers that I can use." She answered curtly, as she looked at the other men in the room watching her carefully, their hands were tense. Some of them were waiting at the holster, just waiting for that one move. The Chairman sighed and slowly edged off the desk.
"Where did your species come from? Why did you attack us that day?"
Ember sighed, the most expected, unimportant and most asked questions existed. She knew these would come from someone. She folded her arms, leant back against the chair (although she was careful enough to not lean too far back, as she would end up on the floor otherwise) and smirked.
"That doesn't matter." She grinned. "Why would you want to know anyway?"
The Chairman flushed red as anger went snap across his face, but it left his features as swiftly as it came. He took was small step towards her and straightened up, his eyes fixed directly on her and remained on her, not moving them to see who else had entered the room.
"You attacked us out of nowhere, on one particular day, more importantly it was two years after our last war. We want to know why you did what you did. That is why I'm asking you." He emphasised the 'you'. He waited again patiently for her to answer.
"I'm not going to tell you, because it is not my place to say. Not to you anyway." She muttered carelessly, this time flicking her eyes over to his. The Chairman's face tensed up again in annoyance. Ember noticed that the Delta Squad, the most favoured out of the others were watching her from the other end of the room; she hadn't seen them enter. The Colonel who also entered the room had now stood next to the Chairman.
"Let me pre-warn you." Chairman Prescott was now leaning in, spitting out his words directly at her. "I ask for simple respect and answers. If you will not comply then I can simply have you killed."
At this point Ember had now burst into fits of laughter, her musical tinkling laugh filled the room as the men watched her in shock. "Have me killed?" She chuckled, gasping in between for air. "Kill me, and bang! The Homo Sapiens are gone!" Prescott stared at her in disbelief and turned to the Colonel for answers.
"What does she mean 'the Homo Sapiens are gone'" He asked him quietly. But before the Colonel could answer, Ember butted in, her voice was louder and more confident.
"I mean that I have the power to control the diamond, originally the diamond would be used to destroy the world and everything on it. But because I am its controller I changed that to destroying only the Humans when I die. So if I were you, stop demanding for respect from me because if I gave you some I would have to be executed which means you'll die also." Her eyes scanned the room, looking at each man and how his hands were now edging away from his guns. Ember smirked, satisfied that she was safe for now. The Chairman thought for a moment silently.
"The Locust Queen also knows about this, she may decide to have me killed as a quick way of destroying you all. What are you going to do now?" She added with a smirk, she was enjoying the game and it was now turning into a bigger one. One that she was going to play and enjoy the fireworks. Prescott turned his attention back to Hoffman.
"What would you do Colonel?" He asked him quietly. Hoffman turned his gaze onto Ember who was listening intently, the smirk still fixed on her face before turning to see Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird at the other end of the room watching them, waiting for their next order. Marcus instantly knew what it was going to be, he leaned against the wall and folded his arms.
"Well, only the men in Delta are immune to her powers, they can actually stop her powers from working, they may also have some powers from the diamond as well. This is because they have come into contact with the diamond, of which you heard from the recording we showed you earlier." Hoffman replied quietly. "I'd say that I would leave her responsible for the Delta Squad, seeing as they have the power to stop her doing any damage."
Prescott thought for a moment again and slowly walked up to Ember who was watching him carefully, studying his face. Trying to guess his next move, his next plan, one of the men in the Delta was clouding her views so trying to predict was out of the question.
"May I have a demonstration?" He asked, looking up at Ember and then to the men who were leaning against the wall. Marcus sighed and stood up straight before marching over with the rest of the squad towards them in the centre of the room, the other soldiers were now watching with keen interest, some of them looked a little excited that they were going to see something incredible, whilst others were fearful as to what may happen.
"Try and burn us with fire." Marcus ordered her gruffly. Ember stood up and made sure there was a little distance between her and them. She opened her right hand which instantly formed a flame in the centre of her palm before throwing it at them. The flame diminished as soon as it left her hand in thin air. She made another flame, only it flickered out, she tried again and again to no success.
"Try and shock with electricity." He ordered again. Ember sighed and waved her hand at them again this time sending electricity through the air, there was a shock of blue for a second before it vanished, but it had harmed no one. She tried again but she couldn't form any electric to shock them, instead it faded in her hands. Prescott had seen enough to know about it.
"Also, if we touch her, she'll collapse in pain." Baird grinned nastily at Ember.
Prescott looked at him. "Why, what would happen to her."
"Because we can absorb some of her powers, which is quite painful." He explained. "Want to see what happens?"
The Chairman nodded at which Baird was now grinning. Ember glared at him furiously at what he had suggested, he was using it as an excuse to see her in pain. Baird strode over to her, waiting for her to lift the sleeve of her right arm.
"You bastard." She hissed angrily at him as she lifted up her sleeve and stretched out her scaly arm for him. Baird took off his glove, the grin remained fixed on his face as he watched Ember brace herself for the agonising pain. He simply placed his hand on her arm, putting no pressure on it, Ember crippled down, screaming in agony before smacking his hand off her arm and wrapping her other hand over the burnt mark he had left on her. Baird placed his glove back on before taking her arm to show the damage to everyone. The black mark was in shape of Baird's hand. Everyone crowded round to have a good look at the mark.
"Right, now you know what happens. Right fatface, give me your hand again, I'm gonna enjoy this moment forever."
Baird sighed sarcastically before removing his glove yet again. Ember placed one finger on his hand and Baird let out a cry of pain from the small burn. He grabbed his hand back and examined the damage closely, all was left was a single rounded burnt mark.
"Now we're even, and I've got my powers back." She grumbled at him. "Happy now?"
Baird smirked again. "Yeah, as long as I get to burn you."
Ember rolled her eyes and returned her gaze at the Chairman who was looking at the burnt mark with interest. "Now you know what happens and what they are capable of doing. Now what are you going to do next?"
Prescott sighed. "Delta, you're responsible for her, make sure no harm comes to her. We cannot risk losing her and remaining millions of humanity. She's to stay with you at all times."
Marcus nodded and led Ember and the rest of his squad out of the room. Hoffman watched them leave and then turned to the Chairman who was now leaning against the desk, lost in thought again. Somehow it seemed that leaving Ember under the trust of Delta was going to be a bad idea, even though he knew that Delta was trusted with all the important missions.
Chapter Eight: Numb Edit
Ember peered into the cabin, unsure whether to step inside. Dom watched with amusement as Baird tried to convince her that she was allowed to go in. She must be having a culture shock, she had completely stepped into the world far different from her own. Finally she walked in, but stopped in the middle of the room to drink in her surroundings.
"Fucking finally!"He muttered as he strode over to his bed and sat next to his lancer that was waiting to be cleaned. Ember watched him take his bloodied lancer apart and cleaned each piece with a cloth. Cole watched her with keen interest, she wasn't a berserker, she looked human only a bit more alien-like. Just like Queen Myrrah. They all heard the door shut as Marcus had finally entered the room holding a package in his calloused hands.
"You can sit down you know." He told her gruffly as he placed the package on his bed. Ember sighed and stomped the floor, a chair appeared next to her. She smirked as she sat down on it.
"Sitting." She grinned, Marcus rolled his eyes as he began to tear open the package, she noted that it was addressed to her. But she decided not to care. She folded her arms waiting for nothing.
"I need to take your measurement." The grizzled sergeant informed her as he took out a tape and a sheet of paper. "You need to give up everything that's locust about you whilst you're with us."
Ember groaned, behind her she could hear Baird chuckle with delight. Marcus signalled for her to stand up, which she obliged, she lifted her arms above her head whilst he measured around her bust. Marcus made note of the size by writing it on a form. He then measure her round her waist. Dom tried to keep himself distracted by reading one of the books that Bernie had lent him, but he couldn't help but peek over the top to watch. Baird too occasionally glanced up from cleaning his lancer to watch. After ten minutes of measuring, Marcus placed down the tape and wrote down the last measurement.
"All done." He said gruffly.
"About time." She muttered as she sat back down on her chair. Baird thought for a moment as he gazed at the strange Locust woman sitting in the middle of the cabin.
"How do you do that?" He asked her suddenly. Ember turned to face him, her expression puzzled.
"Do what?" She asked him, her tawny eyes glittered under the sunlight.
"Make that chair come out of nowhere." He summed it up the best he could. Ember thought for a moment as to how she was going to answer.
"Okay, magic lesson number one." She said sarcastically, as she stood up from her chair and stomped the floor again, the chair abruptly vanished. "Think of something you want so much. lets start with an apple, you want it so bad. Let you desire to have that apple fill you up."
Baird concentrated for a few moments then nodded for her to continue.
"Think of the word apple in your head, then stomp you foot, only once, it doesn't matter which foot you stomp with."
Baird was quiet for a few moments, everyone was watching him. He then stomped his foot, an apple came from above him and hit him on the top of his head before landing on his lap. He blinked with amazement. Cole gawped.
"Shit, I'm gonna give that a go." He bellowed with excitement, he then went quiet for a moments before stomping his left foot, a TV and a game console appeared from the corner of the room. Cole grinned before stomping his foot again, this time a sofa appeared, next to Ember facing the TV in the corner. Cole chuckled as he dived onto the couch and switch on the game console and TV.
"Well, at least that will keep him quiet." Baird sighed before returning to cleaning his lancer.
"Can we actually make everything we want appear?" Dom asked, watching Cole kill some zombies on the video game.
"Yeah, only objects and food though, I wouldn't risk it with human people, it tends to get quite dangerous." She replied, sitting down next to Cole.
Myrrah sat on her throne anxiously waiting for the news of her priestess. She hadn't seen her in ages, and was getting worried. The giant doors as the other end of the throne room opened to reveal her courtiers, all of them clutched together nervously, they stopped as soon as they reached the trapdoor in the centre of the room, they all muttered amongst themselves as to who was going to break the news to their queen. Finally, one of the quivering courtier stepped forward.
"Well?" Myrrah inquired. "Where is she?"
"You...Your Maj... Majesty, Priestess Ember is captured by the... Hu.. Humans." He stammered nervously, he waited anxiously. Myrrah scowled, before pulling back a lever next to her. The trapdoor underneath the lone courtier opened and he was sent screaming down to his death into the Immulsion below. The others whimpered, terrified that they were next. Myrrah rose from her throne.
"Where is Niles?" She asked calmly, although it was clear that anger was written over her face. "I need his assistance."
"He's in the study room, in the south tower." replied one courtier. Myrrah stormed through the doors leading to the south tower, leaving her advisors stunned and anxious about whether they were going to live or die. She strode down through the corridor, past doors leading to other rooms before reaching to the stairs leading up to the tower. When she reached to the top, she breathed gently to calm down, before calmly knocking on the wooden door.
"Come in." A frail voice came from inside, Myrrah entered, at the other end of the room, an elderly man sat at his desk, writing what could be a report or a letter. He stopped and turned to face the Locust Queen
"Ah, Myrrah, what can I do for you?" Niles asked, he had aged quite a bit, she observed, since his research centre got closed down by the government.
"Ember is captured sir." She told him. "The humans have her, I have heard that when she dies, the diamond could either create or destroy. She had only confessed it to you, I need to know what she told you at her confessional."
Niles gently took off his glasses and gave them a wipe with the sleeve of his cloak, before placing them back on his withered face. "I am not allowed to tell anyone." He grunted, thinking deeply about something that Myrrah could only guess. "But, you are the queen, annointed by the trinity of worms. So I am allowed to tell you, and only you."
"What did she confess." The Queen urged, kneeling before the elderly doctor.
Niles sighed slowly. "She confessed, that she is immortal, but if she is killed by man or locust, the diamond will destroy only Humans, they will be wiped out with her. But she does have the power to change that, but she is very loyal to you and her species, it is unlikely that she will change the prophecy."
"You're a very wise man Niles." Myrrah whispered gently. "I know that you're a very close friend to Ember. She will always be your closest friend, and you will always be hers."
"Thank you Myrrah." Niles said gently, smiling. Myrrah turned away from him.
Ember laughed as she and Cole raced against each other on the video game, so far she was in the lead, and Cole was desperate to win. But then, suddenly, her world seemed to have gone numb and empty, like nothing was there, in her mind she could see Niles, he best friend. Something was wrong, very wrong.
"Losing her would be too devastating for you." Myrrah said quietly, reaching into her gown. "I won't let you suffer."
"What do you mean Ruth?" Niles asked. Trying to see what she was doing, she was reaching for something. "Ruth?"
"I'm so sorry Niles, I can't let you suffer." She replied, she then turned and dived at him, digging her knife into him, Niles gasped in pain, his voice let out a broken scream, blood poured everywhere.
Ember saw it, she leapt of the sofa in shock, before falling to the floor at the devastating loss. Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird jumped up and rushed to her worriedly. Ember couldn't hear them, she was too numb from shock, Niles is dead, someone had murdered him, but who?
She felt the men lift her up by her arms, she didn't fight against it. She was too weak, she had lost the person closest to her, someone who kept all her secrets, who she confided in, and who she first confessed her prophecy to. And he's now dead.
"Put her on the bed." She heard Marcus order, she felt herself being placed down onto a cushioned mattress, it wasn't comfortable because she could still feel the wires underneath it, but why should that matter, Niles is dead.
Chapter Nine: To Understand Edit
Ember woke few hours later, her vision blurry from crying. She hoped the humans had not seen her cry as it is considered scandalous in Locust traditions. Locust are to be seen as powerful and ruthless, not feeble and weak. She turned over to see new furniture that has joined the cabin, a newly fitted kitchen, a coffee table and a dining table, not to mention new beds with more comfortable mattresses. Cole must've abused his new talents. Dom was sat at the dining table, looking at something in his hands, he turned to notice that she was awake.
"You're awake." He said, he sounded somewhat relieved. "The others will be back in a minute, they're just informing Hoffman as to what has happened earlier. You okay?"
Ember was taken aback a little at his sincere question. "Yes, I'm fine, just tired."
Dom nodded as though he understood. Ember got out of her bed and slowly joined Dom at the table. He was looking at a picture, it had him on it, with a woman. There was another picture lay carefully on the table, Ember took a closer look and saw that it was of two children.
"Are these your children?" She asked. Pulling the picture to a closer inspection.
"Yeah, Bennie and Sylvie." He replied, gazing at the picture she was holding, he smiled at the picture but then it vanished and changed to sadness. Ember studied him nervously, something had happened to them. And she guessed it was to do with what her and the Locust had done.
"What happened Dom?" She asked quietly, turning her gaze back to the picture. She heard Dom sigh quietly.
"They were taken away from me and my wife on E-day." He answered quietly, his voice was strained like he was holding back tears. Ember felt awful, here she was crying over the loss of her friend, whilst this man had lost his children. She was the one who had helped plan the attack that day, she was responsible for their deaths, she remained silent, looking at the picture.
"I would say that I'm sorry, but I'd be a hypocrite if I did." She whispered. She had never seen it from a human point of view, but now after seeing the picture of Dom's children and his wife. She now understood and felt terrible. She was the only one who had decided against going to war with the humans, but eventually fell into supporting the war, she never understood it from the humans side.
"What do you mean?" Dom asked, he was watching her now, Ember felt like she was treading in dangerous waters if she carried on. She thought for a moment deciding whether or not to tell him.
"I helped plan E-day." She said quietly. "I regret it, I do, I was initially against it, but the queen, she brainwashes people who disagree with her. I was terrified to vote against it. I am sorry for what happened to you. I'm a hypocrite."
Dom wasn't sure what to think or feel, but eventually he saw red, he had never felt this angry in his life, he never hated anyone as much as this. She broke down before him, she was pathetic. Dom got out of the chair he was sat in and threw it to the other side of the room in rage.
"I've lost my wife and kids, because of you!" He roared, he wanted to kill her, but managed to restrain himself from doing so, knowing the consquences. Instead he grabbed her by her silver hair and flung her to the other side of the room. Ember landed on the side of Cole's bed, hitting the side of her face against the bar that supported the mattress.
Shit, what sort of man have I become? Maria would've expected better of me, I can't let her down now. How could I?
"Shit! Ember, I'm sorry!" Dom panicked as he rushed forward to help her to her feet. Ember didn't seem to be upset by him hurting her.
"I don't blame you Dom." She whispered as she clutched the right side of her face, tears were still streaming down her face. "I deserve it."
"Regardless Ember, I should've controlled myself." He told her as he gently lifted her hand off her face so he could inspect her face. There was a cut and bruise forming, enough for the others to know that Ember had been attacked. "I'm so sorry."
"No, I'm sorry Dom, I was responsible for the death of your family. I'm sorry."
It was going to be an apology argument, Dom decided to end it there and pulled Ember in for a hug, after a few minutes he released her. He needed to do something, he had lost his temper far too many times since he euthanized his wife, he needed to see someone about it. He gently held Ember's face to examine the cut on her cheek it was beginning to look swollen.
"It's beginning to get swollen, best get something done about it." He said gently, before gently pulling her by her arm to the kitchen, sitting her at the dining table before getting a dishcloth and holding it under cold water, he rinsed it out and chucked it to Ember who caught it in mid air. She instantly placed it on her swollen cheek. Dom took out a bottle of beer.
"Do you drink?" He asked, pointing towards his bottle.
"I've never tasted alcohol." She admitted, Dom nodded and pulled out another bottle before joining her at the table. He opened the bottle for her and then proceeded to opening his own, using her free hand, Ember took a sip from the bottle. It was strong and bitter, but strangely she enjoyed it. She took another eager sip from the bottle before placing it back down on the table.
"Marcus likes his beer strong." Dom explained, taking a swig from his own. Ember smiled gently as she flipped the dishcloth round to the otherside to get more cold on her face.
"What was she like?" She asked, glancing at the photo of him and his wife. Dom smiled and began telling her his life before E-day, back to the days before monsters were real.
Chapter Ten: A Preserved Miracle Edit
It was incredible, here Dom was, talking to a Locust priestess about his family and what life was like before the war. He never thought he could talk to one face to face like normal people do, Ember was a good listener, she seemed saddened when he told her how his wife went missing for ten years and then found her a living corpse in the Prison camps near Nexus.
"So thats my life story," Dom smiled gently, "What was life like for you before E-day?"
Ember took a sip from her beer still gazing down at the pictures of Dom's family. Dom already felt attached to her, like he had adopted her or something, he knew he shouldn't because of protocols and the dangers he could place himself and others in if they trusted Ember too much.
"A lot different from yours, it's nothing like the humans," She said quietly. "We're a very religious species, but in some ways I think religiously-insane sometimes. We've actually been planning on going to war with the humans for years, but you were already in another war, Pendulum wars as I heard some humans call it."
Dom grinned. "Oh yeah, we have heard that you worship worms."
Ember laughed light-heartedly. "Yeah, that definitely sums us up as nutters. Anyway, we work all the time, even on public holidays like Diamond Passing."
"What's Diamond Passing?" Dom asked intently, he was definitely interested, he reminded himself mentally to tell all this stuff to Baird, that guy is gonna be kicking himself in the nuts for not being here right now to hear Ember tell her lifestyle and Locust cultures.
Ember thought for a moment, trying to think of the best way to explain.
"I suppose it's a Locust version of Christmas if that helps you understand." She replied at last. "Every two years the Diamond removes it's power waste, you know like how you humans throw your rubbish out, the power come out in the form of Immulsion."
Dom blinked. "Immulsion, really?"
"Yup," she replied simply. "And then you humans discovered it's usefulness by converting it into fuel. Of course we didn't mind at first, but then you started dumping your waste into our homes."
She was quiet then. "Thats why we emerged that day, thats why we're at war now. We were losing our homes because of the damage your waste had done, it filled up some parts of the Hollow and day by day, and eventually it became unbearable, because our population was increasing and we had no room. Eventually the queen decided enough was enough. She decided two years after the pendulum wars had finished to strike, to give us enough time to build our armies."
Dom was silent, now he understood why. But still, it bothered him greatly as to why they went to war.
"But, why couldn't you have come up and tell us? Find a peaceful way to solve your problem" He asked. "Then we wouldn't be in war now."
Ember sighed. "It was the Queen's decision. So whatever she tells us to do, we must do it."
Dom nodded silently, understand now. The Queen must be the one with the prejudice against humans. The cabin door opened as Baird and Cole entered the room, both looked exhausted, Marcus followed them in a few seconds later.
"Man, Hoffman had sent us on a fetch me this, that and the other trip, The Cole train is knackered!" Cole grumbled but still he looked ethusiastic, just a little bit more tired than usual. Baird yawned and sat on the seat next to Ember, pulling out his journal.
"Man I'm hungry," He complained. "Hey Dom whats for dinner?"
"Erm, steak and chips." Dom replied thinking carefully before getting out of his chair and into the kitchen to begin dinner. Cole took his place at the dining table whilst Marcus just leant on the table casually.
"Shit baby, thats some big ass bruise on yer face, what happened?" Cole asked, noticing the cut on Embers cheek
"Oh I fell over." She replied, blushing in embarrasment and hoping that they didn't see through her lie. Dom looked nervously at them from the kitchen, but saw that they didn't press on about it.
"Right, you, start talking." Baird said firmly to Ember
Ember paused, wondering what he was on about.
"Er, hello?" she said finally, it triggered a snigger from Cole and a smirk from Marcus, Baird just remained looking at her firmly.
"I want to know about your crazy culture shit." He said to her. "Where did the Locust come from?"
"The Hollow." She grinned, pretending to be just as smart as he was. Baird was having none of it.
"I'm being serious, you guys can't just suddenly be there. Where did you come from, how did you get here?"
Ember sighed. "Well I don't know much about it, but as far as I know, we were invented or created by a human."
Baird wrote her sentence down whilst she was speaking before looking back up. "Created? By who?"
Ember thought of her best friend. "His name was Niles. He took us to Mount Kadar, from where I can't remember, but he saved us from something."
The name, they all recognised it, and it hit them like an eighteen-wheeler. Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird instantly drew closer, wanting her to press on about the subject, but she dropped it. Baird hummed at her to carry on, but she shook her head.
"I'm sorry I can't remember anything more. Nile was my best friend, he was the one who got murdered." She muttered. "Anyway, I'm such an idiot, I shouldn't have told you this much, the queen will kill me if she found out."
They all froze, they felt like they were being pulled into a vortex. The next thing they all knew, they were stood in a huge room which the men and Ember recognised as the throne room. The queen was sat in her thron in front of her soldiers, and Skorge. So he isn't dead afterall.
"I have found a way to end this war quicker and better than our original plan to raid their cities and slaughter every one of them." Myrrah told them, in her snake-like voice. "Ember, you all know who she is don't you. Of course Skorge you'll know more about her than I do since you pray in the same temple as she does."
Skorge hissed back in the Locust's unique tounge. Which only Baird and Ember could translate.
"Yes, my lady. She was a respectable woman, but we trusted her too much. The worms have told me that she confessed to the squad she was held captive by. She had told them about our way of life. She has betrayed us."
Myrrah chuckled darkly. "Yes, I had a feeling her loyalty made us trust her far too much. But then again, I have killed Niles, her best friend, straight after he told me her confessional."
Ember gasped in horror, none of the Locust heard her, they were too busy listening to the queen.
"Now is our chance to win this war against the humans. We can wipe out the human race instantly, simply by stabbing Ember in the heart. Skorge, I'm leaving you in charge of assasinating Ember. Pray to the worms and find out her location, then proceed to leading our troops there."
Skorge bowed before his queen before striding out of the throne room. The queen turned back to her courtiers, they all looked tense, but determined.
"Now then gentleman, what have you found out about this, Delta squad?" She asked them calmly, as though she was trying to calm them down. One of the men stood forward, he looked calm, but fear was clearly written on his face.
"They are led by a sergeant, Marcus Fenix, as I'm sure your Majesty knows. They also seem to have their own Locust expert by the name of Baird, and they also have a legendary sports player amongst them, Cole train as they call him. The last we don't know much about him although we can confirm that his name is Dom. They are a well-known squad, trusted by their leader in carrying out important missions, they were the once who deployed the lava-bomb on us which had wiped out the Kyrll and crippled the numbers of of our Berserkers. And as I'm sure your Majesty is aware, they are also the ones responsible for taking a huge risk on their part by sinking their very own home in bid to wipe us out."
"How interesting, very well gentlemen I shall let you continue your research on these men, I also want you to keep me informed on Ember, try and see what she's planning next."
They suddenly found themselves back in the cabin, the Locust queen and her courtiers had vanished. Ember remained frozen, sat at the table staring out blankly, she was numb from her queen's betrayal. She had considered Myrrah as a friend, what a mistake that was.
"So, whoes side you on now?" Baird asked obnoxiously, Cole punched him in the arm to shut him up, giving him a dead arm, Baird scowled at him, rubbing his arm. Ember sighed quietly.
"I don't know," she whispered. "But whatever it is, it's definitely not hers. She brainwashed her people into going to war against you. Did you know that?"
They didn't answer, she had finally realised that this was all Myrrahs doing, she dominated over them, turning her own people who believed in peace into monsters who hunger for war. Dom silently continued cooking the steak whilst the others remained by Ember side. After an hour he dished up the food and placed it on the table in front of each person. They sat in silence eating the smoky grilled meat.
"So whats the plan now?" Cole asked, finally breaking the silence. "The Queen's army will be here at any time."
Ember thought for a moment, then she remembered. She could change her confessional desire couldn't she? There was a balance between Humans and Locust in the diamond, it stated that there was only one main race on the planet, but there are two and so they must rage a war to ensure that only one race ruled Sera alone. At the moment it was set on the destruction of humans when she died, but she could change it at anytime, she could change it to the destruction of the Locust. Sure she would die along with millions of her own species, but as long as Myrrah was punished for what she had done to the innocent people of Sera.
"Guys, how mentally insane are you?" She asked, whilst finishing off the last of her steak, there was a silence as the men looked at each other contemplating and rating each other over who was the most insane.
"Insane enough to ride a Brumak in the Hollow to help sink Jacinto." Marcus replied pondering silently over where this was leading to.
"Insane enough to get swallowed by a riftworm and live." Baird added. "Why?"
Ember paused, watching each man. "Did you enjoy your visit to Nexus, and the meeting with the Queen."
The men looked at each other, wondering what she was trying to get to. Baird took a sip from his beer, waiting for someone else to reply. He had a feeling that he knew what she trying to say to them but didn't want to sound like a smartass that he is.
"Yeah baby! Best visit I've had since forever." Cole replied, chuckling at the thought of of their trip to Nexus months before. He pushed his plate to the centre of the table, it was perfectly empty, not one piece of food left on it, Cole made sure he had every piece.
"Well, you know that I set my diamond to wipe out the human race when I die, well, I can change it at anytime."
Marcus blinked, he was beginning to work it out now. "You want to change it to wiping out the Locust?"
Ember nodded and grinned. "Jeez, I thought thats what you wanted. God make your mind up!"
Dom and Cole laughed and Marcus smirked. "It's what we've wanted since war began baby!"
"So what's the catch?" the sergeant asked, knowing that there has to be a hurdle to overcome before that can get what they wanted.
"The only way to change it is to place the diamond in the centre of the throne room in the palace so it can get charge by the immulsion crystals. It used to be just immulsion but since you guys moved here we've managed to develop the crystals to make the process quicker. The Queen is likely to be placed on high alert which will make it difficult to change the desire."
"Well, it'll be worth it at least, and if we do die, we died trying." Baird commented.
"True, we need to tell Hoffman this as soon a possible." Dom said. "Where is he anyway?"
"In the control room, where he always spends his time." Marcus muttered. "Come on, we need to tell him this now before the Locust get here."
They all got up from the dining table, and exited their small cabin, making their way over to the Control room. They needed a miracle for this work, Marcus knew that already, it was a huge gamble on Ember's part. She already built a trust with them within days, and she is now helping them destroy the Locust once and for all.
Chapter Eleven: At The Start Edit
The small office next to the Control room was all that Hoffman had of his life after E-day. It was the only place he could get peace and quiet from the hustle-bustle Gears that were patrolling around the new base. He sat at his desk, drinking a glass of whisky, signing some forms about bullshit and remembering the good old days of the Pendulum Wars. How different it was from the war they were currently having against the Locust. He almost dozed off, sleep was very hard to have nowadays, he would've passed out on his chair if it wasn't for the firm knock on his office door.
What the hell now! He grumbled silently in his head. "Come in."
The door opened to reveal Marcus Fenix, he looked like a volcano about to explode, even when he wasn't pissed off at someone, he just had that look about him that sent a shiver down the spine of the most fearless men.
"Sir, we need to talk, concerning about Ember and the Diamond." He rumbled. "It's urgent."
"Come on in then."
They all filed in, Ember sitting on the seat in front of the tired Colonel, he hadn't slept in days and his eyes were failing to stay open.
"What is it?" He grumbled unprofessionally, piling his paperwork on top of each other and placing it at the end of his desk before turning his attention onto Ember who looked rather calm despite being in her enemies hands.
"There is a Locust army coming here." She said simply, watching his face carefully. Almost at once, Hoffman turned more alert but remained calm.
"What do you mean?" He asked, glaring at her, did she tell her friends where the remnants of the humans were? How did she tell them? How did they find out?
"I told you about the Diamond grant, if I die, the Human race dies with me. Well, the Locust have found that out after the Queen bribed my best friend and confessor into telling her my confession, she has sent her army here to have me killed."
Hoffman froze. "And why are you telling us this now?"
"We've only just found this out an hour ago, if you want your sorry asses to be saved then I'm offering you a once in a lifetime opportunity." She said hotly. "Afterall, my fellows are brainwashed by their Queen, never had I seen them so thirsty for war. But then again, we did have our justly reasons for doing so."
"So what are you offering." He was getting impatient now, figeting on his seat, taking a sip from his whisky.
"To change my grant, so when I die the Locust will be wiped out instead of the Humans." She smirked. "And yes there is a catch, the only way we can do that is to return to the Locust palace and change it via the immulsion cyrstals embedded in the throne room."
Hoffman thought for a moment, it was suicidal, and she seemed suspiciously eager to change the grant and have herself killed, something didn't add up but somehow the men in Delta seemed know the reason why she changed sides suddenly. The Chairman would refuse point blank to send them out to the throne room, he didn't trust Marcus due to his criminal record, but Marcus had earned back his reputation after completing the lightmass bombing and recovering Locust plans that were to sink Jacinto before the Humans knew about it. Hoffman could trust these men to keep Ember alive until she changed the grant. Besides, Hoffman had ignored the Chairman's orders hundreds of times, all ending with success.
"Fine you have my permission to go, but there is one thing, the Ravens are currently undergoing repairs and upgrades which will last a while, when are you planning to go and how?"
"Now, and we walk of course." She grinned earnestly, Hoffman looked at her disbelieving.
"You're planning on walking over water?" He asked incredulously, he looked that men behind her who all shrugged.
"In the dark?"
"Yes in the dark." She continued briskly, she was desperate to get going. She got up out of her chair with her arms folded, waiting impatiently for him to say that they could go.
"With no food and equipment?"
"Dude! We can magic all that shit, now can we go? Also, I need you look after the diamond here, then when we reach mainland, or near the Locust palace, you are to hand the diamond over to me, or one of the men if you still don't trust me, is that okay?"
Hoffman sighed. "Fine, Delta suit up. You may go, we'll inform you about when we're sending assistance in, also, not a word of this to the Chairman, he'd have me fired if her found out."
"Oh yeah, tell the Chairman to get his head out of his arse, he's really too up himself you know." Ember told the Colonel before leaving the room. Hoffman stared blankly at the door. She was definitely off her rocker, that's for sure. He looked back at Marcus.
"Is she okay?" He asked him, Marcus shrugged.
"If you consider weird normal then yeah she's fine." He replied before joining the rest of his squad outside Hoffman's office.
They all stood gazing out at the ocean, it was pitch black but Ember didn't seemed to bothered by the dark. Baird stared at Ember as though she had come from a mental hospital and was planning on going on a killing spree at any moment.
"So then Merlin, here is the ocean, vast, deep and dark. You gonna magic a bridge or what?"
Ember stomped her foot and an apple promptly landed on Baird's head before landing on the sand with a soft thud.
"Shut it Bimbo, I'm trying to concentrate." She muttered, then she took a deep breath and place one foot on top of the water before placing her second on the invisible platform. She beamed at her effort.
"Right then, it's safe to walk on, you can jump, run, skip whatever but you won't end up in the water." She smirked at Baird who was still nursing the top of his head. "You sure you can handle that Blondie?"
Baird muttered something incoherently under his breath before joining Ember above the water. It felt weird, and he didn't feel stable on the invisble platform at all, he felt like he could go under any minute.
"Stop thinking about it, just walk on." The priestess suggested as the rest of the squad joined them.
"Shit, I'm god man!" Cole chuckled nervously, taking another slow step. It was a slow process but they eventually gotten used to walking ontop of the water with no concern that they would go under.
"So how long is this gonna take?" Baird grumbled at Ember who didn't seem to be fed up of walking.
"Well I have frozen time, if I hadn't it would take us three days, but look, we're miles away from Vectes, we can't see the island anymore." She replied curtly, then she grinned. "Everyone is frozen in time except us, so when we reach to land you guys tell your Colonel we've made it, he'd think you've gone barmy because it was only a second ago that we were in his office to him."
Dom chuckled. "Oh man, Hoffmans gonna die when we comm him."
"I can just picture it baby, him sitting there in his office drinking whisky, and then we've told him we've made it and he'll die of a heart attack." Cole grinned
"Aww poor Hoffman, you keep mentioning that he dies of shock." Ember tutted. "Gee what is he gonna say to that."
"Probably couldn't care less." Marcus joined in. "Shit, up ahead, looks like a Reaver."
Marcus was right, there was a Reaver up ahead, it looked like it had a rider on board as well. It wasn't a welcoming sight, they all raised their guard just in case, they took a slow step closer, whatever was on top of the Reaver turned its head towards them. But at the same time it didn't seem to pay any attention to them. Whatever it was, it managed to get itself out of Ember's time freeze. Suddenly the Reaver or its rider let out a huge roar before lifting off into the sky and flew away. Whatever it was, the look on Ember's face confirmed that this wasn't good.
"So he did survive then." Ember whispered, she was staring out into the distance as though she could still see that Reaver. "I just thought that was the Queen playing tricks with my visions."
"What do you mean?" Marcus asked her gruffly, his lancer was now lowered but were prepared to shoot still if the threat returned.
"Skorge, I mean you all saw him, I didn't think he actually was, I genuinely thought the Queen was tampering my visions." She sighed as she rubbed the temples of her head. "Come on, we better get going before he brings back the whole army, no doubt he'd have them prepared on the shore for us or something, I'll try and see if I can find another way round them."
Chapter Twelve: Lost Love Edit
They approached the south shores of the mainland, the beach they had set foot on was small, the rocks blocking off the sides leaving them no choice but to enter the dark forest ahead. Ember started to feel nauseous as they approached the forest opening. They were going to be ambushed, and there was no other way around it. Ember rubbed her head gently as the dizzy spells kicked in, it was Skorge's doing, he knew who to get himself outside of her time freeze, he knew some of her magic and knew how to prevent it from connecting to him.
"It's going to be an ambush, watch your step." She whispered to the others cautiously, they nodded in response. They slowly walked into the forest opening and down the trail. There was a sudden crack of a stick breaking and a crackle of leaves being stood on from the side of the trail. Ember instantly formed fireballs in bother of her hands, preparing for a battle. They all slowly continued down the trail, watching either side of it for any locust activity. They heard one of the trees to their left creak, and they all looked up to see a sinister, bulky figure leering down at them. It growled before jumping down, berserkers had not been seen since the lightmass offensive. Ember instantly shut off the fireballs forming in her hand, instead of throwing them at the berserker, she simply let them dissolve in her hands. The men were about to shoot the berserker until Ember did something to paralyse them from doing so.
"Don't shoot, I can talk to her. If she attacks then you can shoot, but not yet." Ember ordered, they lowered their lancers patiently.
"My lady, why are you here alone?" Ember asked the ferocious female who was growling sinisterly. Ember could tell she was bloodthirsty, not for her blood but for the men's. The beast looked at her, not changing her demeanor yet. She looked at Ember, the Cardinal that she recognised, and then at the four men whom she didn't know.
"I am not alone your Eminence." The Berserker growled back. "Skorge has brought his army here to kill you in bid to wipe out the human race, they're in the trees further down this trail. You need to get out of here now, you'll get killed, he'll make sure of it."
"What is in this forest my lady, other than the Locust army?" The priestess asked the giant beast who seemed more calmer.
"There is a run-down village your Eminence, the Locust army ramsacked it before heading into the forest." The Berserker replied, looking back at the four gears. "Madam, please don't do this, just sacrifice yourself, you'll save us from the torture we have to endure. Our people are suffering because you're helping them."
"I have to do this my lady, I have seen the suffering of the humans which they too have endured for sixteen years all because of our Queens desire to rule Sera. You could help us end that suffering as well as the suffering of our people." Ember continued. "Please, we have to do this, the trinity had stated that if we do good then we can be humans again, please."
"But I'll get a beating for it, they'll tie me down and attack me." The Berserker lost her aggressiveness and was now looking around to see if her master was nearby to hear. For the first time, the men had seen a berserker terrified.
"They beat you? But you're a berserker you can attack them back, you're twice as powerful as they are." Baird joined in. He blinked in surprise at the fact that he could understand Locust dialect fully, as well as speak in their language fluently, Marcus, Dom and Cole looked at him like he had escaped from a mental asylum. The Berserker looked at him, but she didn't growl or proceed to attack him. Her blind eyes were filled with fear, she too was surprised that the human spoke their language fluently.
"Yes they do beat us if we do not obey." She continued. "If I disobey and attack them, they will kill me as well as the others, which is why all of us behave, we don't want the others to suffer for ones disobedience. And I am starving, the scent of your blood does not help."
"And your ugly looks don't help either." Baird muttered quietly, the Berserker heard him but did not retort instead she bowed her head shamefully.
"Go back to the other ladies, tell them the revolution is beginning. You must know that the Queen's desire has driven her to madness which is why we're still in the form of Locust, if we fight against her and turn good, you will return to your human form as you once were before we were taken to Mount Kadar by Niles. Unfortunately Ruth will never become human again, she has done too much evil to return to good, which is why I must die with her." Ember whispered sadly.
"Mount Kadar? Niles?" Baird pondered in his newly founded Locust dialect, already he was proud of his ability to talk in their language, he was rubbing it in. "Were you once the patients at New Hope Facility?"
Ember and the Berserker looked at each other and then back at Baird. "Have you ever been to New Hope before?" Ember asked, her eyes scanning the trees around them.
"Yeah we have, before the sinking of Jacinto we were sent there by command." Baird continued. "Marcus and Dom went in, so I don't really know what the trip was all about except that some illegal stuff happened there years ago."
"I'll explain that later, right now we have a huge task of dealing with the pending ambush. What is your name before you became a Locust my lady?" Ember asked the Berkserker
"My name was Rosaline, but you can just call me Rosie." She replied, she turned around fearfully to see if her masters were behind her before turning back to the four men and Ember. "I don't think they'd believe me if I ran back and told them I had killed you all, but I'll help you fight against them, Skorge wouldn't harm the others, he would need all of them to fight against us."
Ember nodded and turned back to the men.
"Don't be alarmed, she won't hurt you. The only way through the forest is to go throught the ambush, she will help us fight through it, there is a village at the otherside which we can camp in and build up supplies although of course you can magic them, whatever is needed."
Marcus nodded. "One question however. Baird since when can you speak Locust?"
Baird shrugged in response, only Ember answered. "Other than being talented in mechanics, he also knows some of our language, unknowingly to him, the diamond had stored the rest of that knowledge into his brain from when he touched the diamond."
"Cool baby! I wonder how big his brain is now, I mean already his head is rather large for his goggles." Cole chuckled as he slapped Baird across the back almost knocking the man over.
"Anyway, we have an ambush to deal with." Marcus growled. "Come on, I don't want to linger here any longer."
They slowly trekked down the trail cautiously, the Berserker, Rosie, sniffed the air.
"We're in the centre of the trap now, there's no going back." She growled to Ember. "Watch your step, I don't know exactly what they set up here."
Ember nodded, it was silent for the moment which was okay. Then in the distant was a godlike shriek, Ember and Rosie instantly looked up, it sounded musical and reassuring to them when deep down they knew it was danger, the gears instantly clamped their hands on their ears.
"Shit! Kantus!" Marcus roared out.
No sooner had he bellowed out, the Locust soldiers jumped down from the trees, some filing out of the bushes. A firefight instantly broke out, with the Delta squad stuck in the middle.
"I'll go after the Kantus!" Ember called out, after she speared one of the grubs. She ran up the hill, knocking down the grubs that got in her path. Rosie, like all Berserkers did, cannonballed herself into the wave of grubs that were shooting that them, knocking some of them unconcious and ripping others apart. Cole seemed overjoyed to be back in the fight, he was addicted to the adrenline it gave him. He enjoyed the fear of death whiched waved over him that sent his body into motion of fighting for survival.
"Yeah baby! Nobody plays this game like me, nobody!" he bellowed as chainsawed one of the grubs in half. Another grub ran up to him, his lancer revved up, ready to saw into Cole, but Baird shot him down before he reached his buddy.
"Shit cole! You're seriously suicidal!" Baird called out to his friend, but he wasn't angry at his buddy, he was worried that one day he wouldn't be there to save his goddamn ass. Dom fired his way through the Locust wave, thinking of his wife the whole time and the thirst for revenge was quenched with each Locust he killed.
"Shit Marcus, there's a Boomer." Dom yelled to his buddy. Firing his lancer at the gigantic monster who fired his boomshot back, Dom managed to avoid the explosions of mud, leaves and sticks it caused.
"Yeah Dom, and I'm currently discussing my next meal with the cook here!" Marcus yelled back to his friend whilst engaging with the Butcher who was trying to swipe him with his cleaver. After a few rounds the butcher fell flat on the floor, blood pouring out of it's dead body. Marcus then proceeded to helping Dom defeat the boomer. The Kantus was still shrieking, tickers had now joined the ambush.
"Shit! Hurry up Ember!" Marcus roared out, as he fired at the Boomer, they were struggling to shoot down the beast. Rosie then came to help them, she fired herself at the huge boomer and ripped him to shreds. She turned to face the two gears and nodded to them, sure she may not understand their language but at least she could show them appreciation for their attempts at bringing down the boomer, Marcus nodded back in gratitude for the same reason. Ember had finally reached the top of the hill where the Kantus priest was wailing, he had his back to her, and was wearing an armour that lower ranked priest shouldn't be wearing.
"I should've known it was you Skorge." She hissed at him, Skorge turned to her smirking.
"Well technically you did know it was me, did you not. You just thought I flew away and let another priest bring you down." he hissed back. "Dear dear Ember, why are you betraying us, just think of the glory you could give us, the power, the wealth all because of your death."
"None of you deserve that glory, the humans don't deserve the suffering we have caused them." Ember spat angrily. Skorge walked over to her and gazed down at her.
"What has become of you Ember, you're my wife. I expected better of you but instead you've slammed it back in my face." Skorge growled, holding her arm gently. "You were given a responsibility to guide that diamond, to care for it, and carry out it's objectives. You're meant to sacrifice yourself for us, not them."
Ember glared back at him. "I am not your wife!" she hissed as she pulled her arm out of his hands roughly. "Skorge, I loved you, I won't lie about that. But you let the madness take over you. You let her brainwash you and our people. How can I let innocent humans suffer because of her, of her desires for her reign?"
Skorge sighed and held her arms again. "Ember, please, come home, be my wife, and then sacrifice yourself for us. For our future family. End this stupidity now and come home."
"No." Ember answered simply. "I should've left you there to die after you fell from your hydra. I shouldn't of healed you to full health, I know now that it was a mistake to give you another chance of living."
The high Kantus Priest sighed. And then kissed her gently on her forehead. "I'll give you a week to end all this, if you don't then I'll have no choice but to end it for you."
Ember watched as he turned away from her and jumped onto the reaver that had waited for him. She watched as it lifted into the air and fly into the distance, tear streamed down her face as she broke down and sobbed.
Chapter Thirteen: Snatched Edit
Ember trudged her way back down the muddy hill, her mind was numb from the meeting with her "husband", she returned to see that all of the men in Delta and Rosie were unharmed and that they were picking through the lifeless bloodied corpses of locust for any that may be playing dead. She was relieved to see that they were still alive but in the back of her head she felt a pang of despair at the sight of the dead that was her people, her followers.
"Baby!" Cole chirped joyfully when he saw her, relief too had washed over his face at the sight of her. "Dealt with the Kantus proper good, bout time someone shut that bastard up!"
Ember smiled weakly, if only they knew that kantus priest was her husband. She couldn't face the shame and humiliation of telling them about her shambled marriage to Skorge, and she couldn't face the fact that she was the one who revived him after they had "killed" him.
"Hey you okay?" Dom asked, noting the worry on her face. Ember instantly shook herself out of her thoughts as Dom had brought her back to reality.
"Yeah, I'm fine, just tired thats all." she replied in a rush hoping that she didn't alarm him. "Best get to that village before anymore turn up."
Marcus nodded whilst Dom was left to muse over whether she was perfectly fine before shrugging the issue off. Baird couldn't care less as long as he kept his distance from Rosie, he had a bad experience fighting Berserkers, he wasn't sure if it was going to be the same as fighting along with one. Ember instantly took charge of the group and led them through the thickets of bushes and mounds of dead leaves. Ember was exhausted, the stress of seeing Skorge again beated down on her, Rosie sensed what was wrong and slowly bowed her head. She knew about Skorge and Ember's marriage, it was no secret in the Locust world.
The village wasn't far from the battle location, depsite the heavy devastation of the war, most of the houses were still standing though the windows and doors were smashed and a few walls knocked down. It was beginning to get dark now that Ember had switched off her time freeze.
"I say we camp out in that barn down there." Marcus said gruffly pointing out the barn at the end of the road with his lancer. "I don't particularly like sleeping in derelict buildings, that barn seems more stable."
Ember couldn't help but agree with him, even though she'd never been camping out on the surface before, she seemed to develop an instant fear of sleeping inside buildings. They trudged their way down the muddy road and they pulled open the door together and marched inside. The barn floor was covered in fresh hay, though it appeared as though no animal nor human had been here in ages. It seemed undamaged by the war, though there were a few burnt marks on the wooden supports that held the level above and the roof in place.
"Rosie, I suggest you stay the night to rest, you need to build your strength up for the journey back to Nexus as well as gathering the other women and some men who are willing to fight against the queen and sacrifice their lives. I implore you to stay the night and make off in the morning." Ember whispered to Rosie who nodded in response.
"Yes madam." The berserker growled softly. She then made her way over to a pile of hay in the corner of the barn - taking care to not bumping into any of the humans - and collapsed softly in exhaustion.
Dom watched Rosie close her blinded eyes in awe. It was hard to believe that Berserkers, though bloodthirsty they may be, were actually gentle beings that were forced to fight in a war they hated as much as the humans did. He sat quietly in between Marcus and Cole, watching Rosie sleep softly, it was also hard to believe that something so ugly can look so peacefully beautiful. Dom swore his mind was going insane, he was beginning to see the Locust under a new light ever since Ember became their prisoner and agreed to fight alongside with them.
He watched as Ember and Baird worked on making a little fire in the middle of them. Ember looked slightly distressed, but he couldn't exactly figure out as to what Ember might have seen on the top of that hill earlier when she went after that kantus, maybe she was upset at the fact that she had to kill one of her own people? Dom knew Ember thought alot of her fellows, maybe that's why she was upset. He had a feeling that there was more to Ember that meets the eye.
New Hope Research Facility: Eighty years ago
The room was small enough to send anyone in a claustraphobic attack, it was padded white on the walls and floor with only one mirrored window and one door. It was designed to ensure that no patient escaped and no COG lunatic to get in. I was sat in a wooden chair in the center of the room with two men and a woman stood in front of me, each holding some files in their hands. Behind me was of course the door with two armed guards standing on either side.
Obviously I'm terrified, I'm only fifteen years old, a schoolgirl who was snatched on her way to school. I have no idea why I'm here, and I'm pretty certain that I'm about to find out now. The man in the middle of the three in front of me was gazing down at the files, he had grey hair and wore glasses that made his eyes appear slightly bigger than they are, his face was smooth though signs of aging appeared in a form of wrinkles on the side creases of his eyes and lips.
"Name, age, affiliation?" He asked all in one sentence smoothly and emotionless, like he was a robot. My voice cracked a little from my nerves and I felt myself physically shaking.
"Ruth, I'm fifteen years old, Coalition of Order Governments." I replied trying to keep my nerves calm as much as I can, hopefully I will find out what they want and try to resolve it, then I can go home without any fuss. The woman next to the man noted these down, she had black hair that was tide in a bun, her lips were pressed tight as she concentrated.
"Do you know why you're here?" She asked, not looking up from her notepad. I swallowed nervously, maybe I had been arrested or something, maybe they thought I commited a crime against national security. If they did, then they obviously made a mistake, I am a law respecting citizen. They have the wrong person.
"No ma'am." I answered quietly. Watching the two write notes whilst the third stood firmly still, he was holding what looked like a needle in his hands, I shuddered to think as to who that might be for. The first man cleared his throat and for once looked at me, a poor, terrified, vulnerable me.
"We have reports from people in your neighbourhood, including your parents that you have been displaying symptoms of rapid growth of nails and height as well as your eyes and skin occasionally changing into a different colour that isn't humanely possible, which can only be cause if a person has a reaction to Immulsion by breathing in the fumes without having any immulsion sickness."
I blinked, stunned by this news. This was completely different, I quickly realised that I was snatched by the same people who snatched other young people like myself off the streets. Swallowing hard again, I took a deep breath to calm my nerves though at this point it was painful to keep them under control.
"I have been in contact with Immulsion when I was seven, when my father took me down to see how his worked underground, mining Immulsion amongst other things." I said bitterly, my chances of getting back home had decreased rapidly, but maybe if I was honest with them then they would let me go. The man nodded and noted this down along with his female collegue. I crossed my arms, the room suddenly felt cold but I was pretty certain that my nerves playing up.
"When did the symptoms start to show?" The woman asked sternly, she too looked at me for the first time since I entered the room.
"Around four years after I had been in contact with Immulsion, when I was eleven. My parents and doctors thought it was odd that I didn't contract rustlung and instead started showing rapid changes in my skin, eyes and height."
"Did your doctor make note of these changes?" The man asked, he was listening intently now instead of writing lazily on his notes.
"Yes, I can explain an example of my rapid growth. When I was fourteen, I was five foot six, a three days later my height grew to six one." They all looked interested at this information, the man holding the needle had a glimpse of amazement flash quickly across his feature, though it went as quickly as it came.
"Have you increased height since?" The first man asked, writing this information onto his notes as usual.
"No, oddly enough I remained at six one ever since. But the growth of my nails won't slow down." I continued, then I sighed nervously trying to keep the atmosphere pleasant for me at least. "When will I see my parents again?"
They all ignored this question instead they continued jotting down notes, or in the second man's case, simply standing there with a needle in his hands threatening to use it at any moment. I tried not to think about that needle, I hoped it wasn't meant for me. I had a huge fear of them, I once passed out when a doctor tried to give me a vaccine. Finally they put their notebooks aside.
"We're going to need you to stay here for a few days." said the grey haired man. "We want to cure you from this illness of course, but also we want to discover why it happens."
"But will I see my parents?" I pestered, desperate to know if my parents were okay and that they knew where I was and what was being done to me here, I hope they were allowed to visit, I miss them terribly even though I had been gone for two hours. The man remained emotionlessly cold, he looked at me with piercingly blue eyes.
"I cannot guarantee that you will see them again." He replied, then I panicked. I quickly leapt from my chair, but no sooner had I did so, the armed guards at the door tackled me to the ground, I fought back in desperate attempt to escape, but in vain. The next thing I knew I saw the man with the needle come forward and injected the contents into me. I was instantly plunged into darkness.
Chapter Fourteen: Ember's Story Part I Edit
The fire crackled in the room that was dulling out the sound of Rosie's soft and heavy snoring, Ember stared at the fire blankly remembering the early days before the war, before the Locust even started a civilisation over a hundred years ago. Dom, Marcus, Cole and Baird watched her amusedly at her careful daydreaming, they didn't want to disturb her even though she had a rather severe and worried look on her face. It wasn't until Baird accidently dropped his hip pack on the floor did she snap out of her daydreaming instantly, Dom chuckled softly.
"Enjoyed your dream?" He asked her smilingly, his eye sparkled with amusement at her sudden embarrassment that flashed on her face. She smiled back at him trying not to cringe.
"It wasn't really a dream, I was just remembering. I enjoyed it, sort of." She replied, she poked the fire with a stick in bid to keep it going. It's flames casted an orange glow around the room, Rosie sighed in her sleep and slightly budged to get more comfortable in the hay.
"Hope yer don't mind me asking baby." Cole said gently. "But what was you remembering, you seemed kinda stressed."
Ember sighed, she thanked her stars that the fiery glow casted around the room had concealed her blushing. She kept the smile fixed on her face though it was becoming more painful by the minute and eventually she relaxed.
"Just the days before I became a Locust." She replied, moving her gaze from Cole to the fire. "Remember when I told you guys about Niles my best friend, well I fibbed a bit about not remembering because I just didn't feel like it was okay to tell you at the time."
"You feel okay telling us now? I'm actually kinda getting interested in your stories." Dom chuckled lightly, Ember chuckled as well. She looked beautiful even Dom had to admit that, she looked like Queen Myrrah only more beautiful. It was astonishing to see something that was viewed as evil and a monster to actually be innocent.
"Okay story time it is." She grinned. Then she sighed. "I remember the first time I saw Queen Myrrah, or Ruth as she known back then before she ruled the Locust."
The name Ruth nagged at each man in the squad but they listened carefully all the same, it was finally that they heard the truth about the Locust, about their secrets, about what happened to them and how they came to be known as the monsters who slaughtered everyone in a city before moving on to the next city for the same process. The fire crackled onimously in the dark barn.
Jacinto Medical Centre: Seventy-Eight years ago
It was two years after Ruth was taken to New Hope when I myself was sent there. I was eighteen years old and was seriously sick for reasons unknown for years until the Doctors realised that I was having a postive reaction to the Immulsion and sent me to New Hope.
I sat next to my sister in the waiting room waiting for the Doctor to call me into his office. I watched each patient come and go through the corridors with various illnesses and symptoms. I noticed my sister edge away from one man next to her who was coughing into his handkerchief. I then realised that he was coughing up what looked like brass coloured phelm into the white tissue which I quickly realised was a symptom of Rustlung. I wasn't really bothered by it as much as my sister but I still kept my distance, you can't be too sure these days.
He must've been a miner who worked in Immulsion factories, mining out the Immulsion to fuel our cars. The discovery of Immulsion was a major breakthrough in history of industry, though recently a war had erupted because of its uses. I looked at my sister, she was positively repulsed by this poor man. I felt sorry for him, it was hard to imagine the pain he went through of being shunned by society because of his rustlung.
"I hope they hurry up." My sister muttered to me. "I can't stand sitting next to this guy any longer. Eurgh, it's disgusting."
"But sis, what if you had it? How would you feel if you were shunned because you had an illness?" I asked, I was seriously defending this poor guy who didn't seem to hear our discussion over his Rustlung, his name was called out and he was soon walking off down the corridor to his Doctor's office.
"I would be disgusted of myself actually, I'd kill myself even to save people from the grief of having to be around me." Came the cold reply. I was mortified at her arrogance in her answer, I decided to drop the subject completely not wanting to get a rise out of her simply because I was sticking up for anyone with Rustlung. Finally my name was called out, I got out of my chair and mutted "See ya" to my miserable excuse of a sibling.
The Doctor greeted me in his usual cheerfulness but I could tell that underneath his demeanor, he hated his job passionately. Every Doctor did back then, since the war started a year previously their pay had been cut in bid to fund the war. Every Doctor in the country went on strike, but the efforts were in vain.
"Hello Ellie, how has your week been?" He asked in his fake pleasant voice. I sat nervously on the chair next to his desk. I wasn't a huge fan of going to see doctors, I had a fear of needles which drove me away from going to the place.
"Rather well actually, it wasn't as painful as it had been before." I replied trying to maintain my cheeriness as well in bid to make this guy's job a little easier. "But I have been getting some pain around my nails mostly."
"Have you injured your hand in any way?" He asked me, looking slightly concerned. "Have you done any sports that may have caused these pains?"
I shook my head in response. "I hadn't been to the gym in weeks. I've also noticed that I've been getting dizzyspells and lightheadedness."
The Doctor did his usual routine of making notes on my symptoms, in bid to keep track of what was going on to me, to see what I was suffering from so that they could find a cure. So far they were unsuccessful, and it frustrated everyone. He then made me do the routine checks on my weight and height.
"You've seem to have shot up quite a bit since last week Ellie, have you experience any growing pains?" He asked, adding my new height to his notes.
"Only a little, they were hardly noticeable to be honest."
I then returned to my seat whilst Doctor went out the room to consult his collegues, about what I didn't know. I didn't find out until later that night when I was sat with my parents and sister in the living room watching TV like any normal family would. There was a sharp knock on the door and my father went over to answer only to meet armed men and an agent looking guy at the door. He was pushed aside and they strode in surrounding us.
"Ellie Thomas you are to come with us under strict government conditions. You will be shot if you make any attempt to escape." The agent said sharply, and then I was dragged into the van much to my parents and my own protests and demands as to why I was being taken away. I was terrified and angry at the way my parents were treated, how could Chairman Monroe permit this?
After hours of travelling in a dark van, we had arrived to New Hope. I was instantly dragged straight to the white cushioned panelled interview rooms where all new "patients" were to be interrogated and registered by Doctors there. I was interrogated by Niles himself, the same man I found out later on who interrogated Ruth a two years previously. I decided to play by the rules in bid to be let out sooner, but I soon found out that sooner was a long time, in fact it never came. I'd never see my family again, due to the govenments top secret laws, every patient was to sign a contract swearing to keep the secret from public life. After many questions and a long time filling in the registration form to signify my new "patient" status, I was sent to my new room, where I was to stay for at least ten years.
It was three days after my arrival, did I see Ruth for the first time, waiting in line for breakfast. She was a young girl around the same age as me, with blonde fair hair and a pale complexion that suited her. We were made to sit next to each other that day because the seats were full and there were only two seats left which was at the table where everyone avoided, Niles usually picked his patients to perform tests on from this table and everyone desperately tried to avoid it if they could.
"Looks like we're going to have to risk being picked on." She muttered to me for the first time. "Damn I hate this place so much. What's your name by the way?"
"Ellie, Ellie Thomas. What's yours?" I asked in return. The girl sat on the chair opposite mine on the dreaded table and we anxiously waited to be picked on as we ate through our cereal. She looked around nervously whilst taking a scoop from her breakfast before wolfing it down with such speed.
"I'm Ruth, just call me Ruth. I've forgotten my last name thanks to this bloody place. You will forget yours too, believe me, every patient does after spending a year here." She finally answered. Still looking anxiously at the Doctors who were watching over us to make sure we weren't breaking any rules.
"What do they do in this place?" I asked, I too looked nervously at the guards, hoping that I wasn't breaking any rules for them to notice. Ruth took another scoop of her breakfast, I did the same as well.
"They perform tests on you, to see if they can cure you, or change you into something better. Like a form of superhuman or something." She whispered as she took another bite of her cereal.
"Ah, my two favourite girls." said a sickly pleasant voice from beside us. It made us both jump at the same time. "How lovely to see you are both eating well, I would like you both to come with me down to Medical Room two after breakfast, thank you." Niles beamed down on us both and we looked dumbly back up at him. He then strode out of the mess hall confidently, like he was king or something, it made me sick to the stomach.
"Bloody nutter he is." Ruth muttered to me. She had already finished her breakfast. "Really thinks he can save the world. I swear he's not right upstairs."
I stopped eating, I wasn't hungry anymore thanks to my sick worry as to what was going to happen to me and Ruth in room two. I looked down onto the table nervously.
"I know how you're feeling, don't worry to much about it. It'll only hurt for like two minutes and then it'll be over before you know it." She reassured me gently. "Anyways I'm in there with you as well, so you're not alone."
I nodded and we both got out of seats to hand our dishes in before making our way out of the mess hall. Ruth lead the way, she knew all the corridors well simply because she had been here longer than I had. It was hard to keep up with her.
"Best not be late." She said to me. "Niles had recently updated his security system, put new guns and everything, he's even got a computer version of himself named Al to control the things. This place is insane."
After a few twists and turns in the corridor we had finally made it to medical room two. I stood nervously to the side as Ruth knocked on the door and silently waited for the door to open, it did almost instantly after she knocked. Doctor Zoey, one of the doctors who registered me when I first arrived here greeted us with a curt nod and stood to the side to let us in. Inside the room was lit dully by a single lightbulb overhead, there were two lab chairs in the centre of the room that bore wrist and ankle restraints, the sight of theses had sent a cold shiver down my spine. Nile stood at the other side of the room in front of a lab table with another doctor.
"Hello ladies," he greeted us with an air of sick pleasant. "I trust you are both well. Please sit down on these chairs, I believe this is your first test Ellie?"
Ruth nudged me to answer and I did so with a slight shaky nod and quiet whisper of "Yes, it's my first." Niles beamed at us as he and his assistant lowered the chairs down for us to sit in. I nervously sat on the one closest to the door and almost yelped in shock and fear as the Doc. Zoey clamped down the wrist and ankle restraints.
"Do not be afraid dear Ellie. It's just a simple injection and CAT scan and you'll be of here in no time." Niles reassured me, but it didn't work I felt like I was going to be physically sick from the fear that built up inside me. My heart pounded heavily against my chest as I watched Niles take Ruths arm and injected the contents of the needle inside her. The reaction was instant, Ruth let out a blood-curdling scream before passing out, froth formed in her mouth. I was petrified and tried to escape but my body was paralysed from fear, I could not move at all. I watched the assistant and Doc. Zoey release Ruths body and place her on the bed of the CAT scan. Nile made his way over to me with another needle, my heart was pounding as I began to find some strength to struggle against him.
"Don't be afraid, it won't hurt." Niles whispered to me before stabbing the needle into my arm. He was wrong, it was agonizing, pain that I never knew existed before. I screamed before being swallowed into the dark.
Chapter Fifteen: Ember's Story Part Two Edit
That was the treatment I had to endure for years, it was agonising the first year, but eventually my body got used to the gruelling regime of constant drugs and experiments. I even undergone the shock therapy that they usually used on people with schizophrenia which left me with the dreaded nightmares that would fill my dreams with terror. After three months of living in New Hope I had forgotten what I was, where I lived and who my family were.
I had changed rapidly as well the minute my "treatment" began my skin turned grey, my eyes turned amber temporarily before turning into a pale blue colour, and I began to have erractic behaviour such as anger problems and violence. I found it very hard to control my temper and I had almost ripped a doctor to shreds. Eventually the doctors and professors that worked at New Hope began to see that Niles had gone insane, he was overwhelmed by his desire to create a new race of species that would hopefully change the world forever. And soon the Government saw the dirty little secrets that were kept in New Hope and so they ordered the facility to be shut down and for the subjects to be destroyed in bid to stop the public from learning the scandalous treatment that the subjects, myself and Ruth had to endure.
Niles, though desperate to keep the facility open, agreed to have it closed down and demolished. But he couldn't have his "patients" destroyed, those who hadn't changed into a different species like myself and Ruth had, were sent to live in the caves of Mount Kadar. However those who mutated horribly during the treatments were forced to be left behind, they were known as the sires simply because they were to remain in the sires until they were killed during the demolitions. But the demolitions never came, Niles was told that the government could not afford to have the building destroyed nor converted due to the desperate funds going into the war.
We discovered tunnels inside the caves of Mount Kadar which led deeper into the mountain and eventually underground. Amongst our rather large group of one hundred there were a few subjects that knew their geography very well, they took a guess that we were directly underneath Jacinto. Some of us even braved to get inside the sewers and take a peek out of the drains to see where we were. Which successfully proved that we were directly beneath Jacinto. Niles ordered that we were to remain hidden underground and only come above ground at night to steal cattle from farms so were could eat, eventually however our diet changed as the immulsion mutated us even further and soon found that the rockworms that lived in the caves were edible for us, though not for Niles so we had to continue stealing and breeding cattle to feed him.
Our group multiplied over time as well as mutated by the large volumes of immulsion, we built Nexus from the granite stones and rock that held Jacinto and the caves together. After ten years we had completed the whole city and we were officially a civilisation, proud of our work, peacemakers amongst ourselves, hidden secretly away from the human race that was bustling above us. We were happy and content for a while as long as the humans kept themselves to themselves whilst digging up the immulsion that was rapidly filling our caves. Which was much of a relief for us, we would've burned to death by the immulsion, or if we were over exposed to it we would've become lambent, we managed to keep the infection under control.
But then we discovered the diamond, or to be more truthful, Ruth had found the diamond. She was on a scouting trip around the caves, trying to study as to how they were formed before we had arrived to live there. She fell into a hole in the ground, and broke her ankle upon landing on the hard stony ground. Wincing at the pain she propped herself up on her shoulders to inspect the area she was in. It was a large hole, she didn't see it coming. She felt a gentle gust of wind blowing towards her, and she instantly realised that she was in a tunnel of some kind, she rolled onto her hands and knees managing to quash the pain from her broken ankle as small as possible by not thinking about it, then she crawled over to the wall trying to pull herself up.
Instead of hard stone, it was soft and delicate like it was skin. She gently rubbed her hand around the wall,it had dense ridges and Ruth tried to make out what it was. It became obvious that she was in a husk of a dead body. Trying to think of a number of creatures that lived under the earth, whatever it was, it must have been huge, huge enough to dig out these tunnels. Maybe this was what made the caves and tunnels underneath Jacinto. Then she realised, the only creature known to dig tunnels underground -though not as big as these were- were worms. This thing seemed long enough to be a worm. Though she doubted that worms would normally be that enormous to do so. She continued to crawl around the tunnel trying to find and escape.
"Ow!" She murmured out in pain as she felt her knee dug into something sharp, something shiny, something blue. She felt blood dribbling down from her wound in her knee, but she didn't feel any pain compared to her ankle she was rather impressed at her own high pain thresh that helped her overcome the agony rather easily. She sat down on the floor infront of the inanimate culprit that was shining blankly at her. It was a diamond, a blue diamond. She could see wisps of smoke swirling inside it. Ruth crouched down low, blowing of the dust of sand and rotted meat of the worm. "Woah." She muttered again, admiring it's sheer beauty as she gently went to pick up the diamond. A lot of things happened that moment, a swift gust of wind was emitted from the rather large blue diamond which sent Ruth flying backwards. Then a blue glow filled the whole room, Ruth rubbed her eyes not quite believing as to what she was seeing.
"You are the first species to touch this diamond." Came an eerie voice that came from deep inside the gem. "Unfortunately you are not elected to be this diamonds controller, instead you will become a fearless, bloody ruler of a new race, you shall be renamed as Myrrah, and you will pull your species above ground and destroy the one other ruling civilisation."
"But, who will become the controller of the diamond?" Ruth asked desperately, swearing that she was going mad in her head.
"The girl, your friend you made at that facility, her name was down since she was born. Make her a cardinal and then grant her the powers to control this diamond." Came the wispy reply. "There is a lot your civilisation needs to learn, more importantly they need to know the key religion that will bound them all together, you and your new cardinal shall make a pilgrimage to the Tomb of Myrrah where you shall learn the trinity of worms, you both must do this in three days, if it is not done then you and your people will live, unknown, with no glory, no history, you will be forgotten."
Ruth felt her ankle and wound on her knee go numb before any feeling returned, it took her at least a minute to realise that her ankle was no longer broken and that the cut on her knee had healed completely.
"Now go, take this diamond with you and give it to Ellie she made cardinal at the Tomb of Myrrah in three days, on that same day you will be coronated in the same Tomb that is named after you. Go."
The light dimmed out leaving Ruth in the darkness of the corpse once again. She pulled herself up off the ground and steadied herself on her now healed foot. When she was certain that she wouldn't cause any more damage to her ankle, she picked up the diamond and then looked up at the only light coming from up above her. How was she going to get back up, she looked back down at the diamond in deep thinking. She closed her eyes, they were straining from the thought. But when she opened them she found herself above ground once again, Ruth stared at the diamond in amazement before running off back to Nexus to tell Ellie and Niles about what she found.
Nexus Palace: Sixty years ago
The newly crowned queen sat at her throne with pride, watching her subjects bow before her. For Myrrah this was the happiest day she had since, well since she was informed by the diamond that she would be queen of the Locust. She looked at her friend, Ember, who had become a cardinal of a new religion which they named the Trinity of Worms, they had discovered their new found powers of the three worms, well two worms since the third had deceased from unknown reasons. The found that waking up the second worm from it's lifelong slumber rather difficult to the point where it wouldn't wake at all, so they had to rely on the first to dig out more room underground.
Myrrah had yet to fulfil one vow the diamond made for her. To remove the humans from the face of the planet, and the only way to do that was to go to war with them, but the diamond had warned her that she would need a worthy enough reason to do so. However Myrrah found a good enough reason to go to war against them now. Secretly she found that she was envious of Ember for being the chosen one to control the diamond. She had far greater powers than Myrrah had ever known and Myrrah wanted to have that power, but Ember was her friend, she couldn't betray her.
"I see you're in deep thought, what mischief are you planning now?" Asked a gentle and amused voice, Myrrah turned to see the woman herself, Ember was smiling at her whilst leaning slightly on her staff that bore the Trinity of Worms on the top, she had long blondish hair and a braid that came down her face that concealed the right side of her face and she was wearing traditional Kantus gown. Ember however was somehow different from other Locust, her eyes weren't white like Myrrahs or amber coloured like the unfortunate patients who weren't strong enough to fight against the immulsion fumes that changed them. Ember's eyes were blue, her skin was pale white but not grey like theirs. She looked more human than Locust, which made Myrrahs envy more stronger.
"I'm not planning on causing trouble amongst my court this time." She replied, smiling at the Cardinal. "We need to breed more in bid to build the worlds greatest army."
Ember looked at her, wondering for the reason why. The Queen knew that the Cardinal hated wars, it was obviously something to do with the diamond, it'd must've told her something that either she hated or she had to obey, whatever the reason Ember didn't held it against Myrrah.
"Forgive me your majesty, but may I ask why?" came the expected question. Myrrah kept her smile trying not to cause any concern for the Cardinal.
"The Humans have caused me some grief, they are filling our homes with rubbish and waste, if they continue any further then we will have no where to live, or even die from the toxic pollution."
The Queen looked at Ember, she could see that Ember was in deep thought probably about trying to change her mind about the war thing. But whatever Ember said, the Queen will still go on with the war plans.
"You majesty, I know I shouldn't be pressing on with your matters but, the humans do not know we're here, wouldn't it be wise first to go up and ask their leader to place their waste elsewhere? It would go against my conscience of us going to war with them when the Humans do not know we're here."
It seemed ideal enough, though the queen knew she had to fulfil what the diamond asked her to do, but Ember was her friend and she respected her ideas and opinions highly. Myrrah remained seated in her throne as she reached out and took Ember's hand gently.
"You emminance, I respect your conscience and therefore I shall go and see the humans chairman about our situation, I will not act if it's against your conscience."
She saw a wave of relief and gratitude wash over Ember's face and a smile returning to her calm and gentle face. "Thank you your majesty, I thank you for your gentle kindness which you have kindly given to me."
Myrrah rose from her throne and nodded towards Ember and then her courtiers before walking out of the throne room with grace. She wasn't going to back out on her promise she made to Ember. She will talk to the Chairman of the humans after the humans current war. She didn't want to cause a fuss whilst they were in a middle of self-destruction.
Chapter Sixteen: Haunted Edit
They stared at her with strong interest. They had all listened very carefully to her life story without interrupting her for questions, the fire continued to crackle during Ember's pause for a deep breath as she silently rubbed her left arm as though she had injured it.
"So what happened then?" Baird asked impatiently, he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying her story more than anyone else. "She had obviously betrayed you by not going to what happened?"
Ember smiled grimly. "She did see the Chairman actually." She admitted quietly, the silence hung over them as the shock drew in the atmosphere. "She kept her promise."
It was Dom who broke the silence, his face turned slightly pale despite the warm crackling fire and his tanned skin. "When?"
Ember looked down to the floor, biting her lip nervously trying to figure out who to explain to them. "Two years before E-day, four months after the Pendulum wars had finished." She tried not to look into their cold locked stares but she could not resist the temptation to face them and their shocked anger.
"She told Chairman Dalyell about what we've been through and what we're suffering. She even asked that we live together side by side peacefully. But the man was prejudiced by what I don't know but I think it was by our appearance, he turned us away telling us never to show our faces again. Myrrah warned him that there would be a war but he didn't believe her."
"Shit." Marcus muttered, rubbing the back of his aching neck. "He had unwittingly given her a good reason to go to war with us." Ember nodded and returned her gaze to the fire trying to remember what the Queen had told her after she came back with the Chairman's refusal.
"She was really smug about it when she told me. I still disagreed with the idea of going to war since I'm more of a pacifist than she is, I even challenged her in her own court which led to me being tortured and brainwashed." She cringed at the memory and bowed her head in shame. Cole moved closer to her and wrapped his arm around her comfortly, her tiny stature was almost swallowed by his overly large bicep.
"Hey baby girl," he whispered gently down her ear. "You can't change the past, what's done is done right?"
Ember looked up into his dark brown eyes and smiled. "Yeah I guess. Who am I kidding, I got the future to look forward to."
Cole chuckled. "Thats the spirit baby!" Baird watched his friend hug Ember before pulling his lancer closer to inspect it for any damage or grime that had gotten caught in the teeth of the chainsaw bayonet. Dom yawned poking the fire with a stick to keep it burning.
"Control this is Delta do you read?" Marcus gruffed suddenly, making Ember jump from inside Cole's tight arms. She had completely forgotten that they could radio the Colonel, Cole pulled something out of his ear and gently pushed it into Ember's.
"Loud and clear Marcus." Came a female reply, it wasn't Hoffman the man Ember was expecting to reply but someone else.
"Whats the status on the Diamond?" Ember was surprised by how clear the signal of the radio was despite the desperate war situation they were in right now. Marcus also seemed to have a soft gruff to his voice instead of the normal growl he normally equipped.
"It appears to have responded well to the final investigations in the lab, we've placed it in the upperground vaults with high security. No Locust has made any attempt to steal to the diamond since Ember's attempt."
It was good news, Ember felt relief wash over her; she had always doubted the Human's ability to protect but clearly they were doing well for now. Marcus didn't show any sign of content about the diamond's safety but then again he was a war-hardend man who found it hard to show any emotion that made Ember wish that she could be emotionless so that people wouldn't pester her asking if she was okay.
"Good to hear." The sergeant growled. "We're in a village on the south mainland, we'll head up north and find a safe spot for the gears to camp out ready for the siege." The Comm fuzzed loudly, at first Ember thought that they had lost signal.
"Fenix, the Chairman has found out." Hoffman's voice interrupted suddenly. "The crazy bastard has done a runner which means that the COG has split apart."
There was silence, Baird, Dom, Cole and Ember looked at Marcus in horror. Marcus maintained his stoic demeanor but his piercing blue eyes gave it all away. Only Rosie's soft snoring filled the barn.
"So what happens now?" Baird asked the Colonel through his comm, he placed his lancer on the floor in front of him waiting for an answer.
"We continue with your mission, we've ordered the gears from all over the island to gather in the mess hall. Our priority now is to escort Ember and her diamond to the Nexus Palace. We want you to head up north and find a safe place to drop off all our gears as well as the diamond. I would advise that it wouldn't be too close to Nexus we don't want to risk any lives, particularly Ember's."
"Understood, Delta out." Marcus removed his finger off the Comm. Cole took the earpiece out of Ember's ear and returned it to his, she figeted nervously feeling that it was her fault entirely. Did the chairman think that what they were doing was going to be an imminent doom to humanity regardless of Ember changing the grant? And how did the he find out about their mission? Those were the questions that Ember felt would never be answered.
"Shit." Dom muttered. Ember agreed with his choice of word. Shit summed it all up.
They woke the following morning to find a grey rainy overcast for weather and Rosie gone. Of course she did say she was going ahead of them to Nexus to inform the other Berserkers and Locust who were demanding a revolution against the queen that they now have a leader to lead them. Ember woke to see the men huddled together discussing something that appeared to be about the Chairman, Ember didn't want to interfere and tried to keep her head down if it weren't for Cole.
"Morning baby!" He beamed eagerly. "Sleep alright?"
"Yeah I guess, feeling damp though." She replied smiling back at the large gear.
Dom chuckled. "You'll get use to it. Anyway Hoffman radioed in again, he told us to head to Kinnerlake City."
"Kinnerlake City?" She heard of that city before, it was where the Locust desecrated the whole city, it was also where the COG had one of their headquarters based before the Hammer of Dawn strike, the had pulled all of their units out before launching the attack. Then she realised why, they obviously had some resources that may have survived there during the Hammer strike.
"Sausage?" Dom asked, passing a plate of cooked sausages over to her, Ember tried not to laugh at the possible innuendo behind it as she took a slice. Dom grinned when she cut him a suspecting look. "I haven't poisoned it."
"Well I know you wouldn't poison it because of a lot of good reasons." She pointed out. "Afterall you don't want to be known as the man who destroyed humanity." She added winking at him.
"When are we going anyway?" Dom asked Marcus, Ember could see that the grizzled sergeant was tired which made her wonder if he had any sleep at all.
"After breakfast." He muttered grabbing that last five sausages before Cole could hog them. "Hoffman want us to clear out the area in Kinnerlake so they can set up a small base there."
"How far is Kinnerlake?" Ember asked him finishing her second slice. "And how far is Kinnerlake from Jacinto?"
"Kinnerlake is about thirty miles from here, Anya gave us that information. Kinnerlake is over a hundred miles from Jacinto, so we're not close to the Locust." He grunted, he definitely didn't sleep and Ember didn't like the thought of the sergeant being awake the entire night since he was supposed to lead the squad wide awake not half asleep. She waited for them to gather their armour in silence, pondering over how the Chairman found out and why he left suddenly.
They trekked out of the village in silence, occasionally going of course to grab some ammo that had been dumped by gears and stranded carelessly over the previous years. Baird often sifted through the rubble looking for equipment that could be salvaged or repaired which -as Ember had been told by Dom- he was an expert at sniffing out useful pieces. They joked about how he was a robot with a built in metal detector designed for guns and cars.
They were now back on the woodland trail heading northwards, sludging through mud and leaves. They could also make out Rosie's huge footprint that sunk deeply into the sludge.
"So, what was Kinnerlake City like before the..." Ember stopped the end of her sentence. At the end of the trail there was a man with his bowels hanging out, his blood dribbling from the slit in his neck, his piercing eyes staring directly at her. She resisted the urge to vomit at the sight, the men looked at her alarmed.
"What it is?" Marcus growled, he looked down at Ember and then at the road ahead. He couldn't see anything that appeared repulsive enough to make Ember wretch.
"That man, can you not see him?" She asked, her face chalky white with fear. "Please tell me you see him!"
Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird stared out at the road ahead, plainly seeing nothing. Ember was mortified, she was clearly seeing something that was not there for them to see. "Please." She begged desperately. "Please tell me you see him. I'm not going insane am I?"
"Ember, people see things that aren't there all the time. There is no man up ahead in the road." Baird said, still looking at the road just in case he was wrong. "I'm being honest with you, no one is here except us."
"And some possible grubs hiding in the bushes pretending to be cute rabbits." Cole added trying to ease Ember lightly. It half-worked. Ember look up ahead of the road once more to find that the man had gone. Was she going insane? Or was she just imagining things? She hoped the vision wouldn't come back again, she had enough of nightmares now.
Baird tugged her lightly at the arm, looking at her face concerned. "Hey come on, he isn't there. You're safe with us remember?"
He was right, she was safe as long as she was with Delta and as long as she was with them no one would dare to attack her. It also meant that if they couldn't see it then it was all in her head and she would know it wasn't real. Slowly she took a step before breathing in deeply for fresh air to ease the vomit in her stomach, Baird stayed close to Ember which seemed weird since he was, as the others called him, the "asshole" of the squad but it could just mean that he was looking out for her like he would with the rest of the squad. Ember didn't wan't to lose anyone in Delta, she had grown far to attached to them and she wouldn't give it up in any way.
Chapter Seventeen: Manipulation of Love Edit
Baird eyed Ember cautiously as he trodded through the muddy path behind Dom and Marcus. She seemed to have calmed down a lot since she saw something that they couldn't see which made Baird be a least more nicer to her since there was a possibilty that she was a schizophrenic and that if he continued being an "asshole" then there was a high chance of him getting stabbed one day.
They had left the tiny derelict village four hours ago and there was still at least a day long journey to Kinnerlake City. Baird felt hopeless and bored so going against his befriend-the-weirdo-so-you-don't-get-stabbed policy he decided to wind the Locust priestess nerves for his own pure entertainment, it was something he was good at.
"So Ember, do you see anything out of the ordinary yet?" He asked, managing somehow to conceal his smirk. Ember blinked trying to work out what he was getting at.
"What do you mean?" She asked as she swerved around a muddy patch. Grabbing onto the Bairds arm so she didn't fall backwards into it, he sniggered nastily.
"Well, you saw something earlier, has it returned to kill us yet?" He grinned, he couldn't resist the urge anymore and made his maliciousness more obvious. Ember clenched her jaw trying not to hit back with a snappy retort.
"No, not yet." She replied, submitting to his snarky attitude. She had learnt quickly not to retort in any way since Baird can turn real nasty when he wanted to. Baird didn't stop there much to her annoyance.
"Anyway, what magic voodoo shit are you gonna do next, Merlin?"
Ember hated the name more than anything despite the fact she didn't know what the name Merlin came from, although she knew there was a type of fish called Merlin and so presumed that he was branding her as such creature. But before she could drop another apple on his head, Marcus came to her rescue.
"Baird, shut up." He growled simply. Such simple words had a magical profound effect on the mechanic because he didn't continue with his jibes at Ember. She noted this down in her memory as future reference and use. That night they set up another camp, using twigs and leaves to light up a fire with Ember's talent. They sat around the fire, trying to keep warm from the relatively cool night, Ember manage to fight against her drowsyness.
"Do you think Kinnerlake would still be habitable for us?" She asked the gears as she edged closer to the fire to warm her hands.
"Dunno." Marcus grunted. "Kinnerlake hasn't been used for years after the Hammer strike."
Ember hoped that it would still be of use for them until they brought down the Locust civilisation. She remembered that man she saw earlier that day, his bowels hanging out of his cut opened stomach. She grimaced at the memory and promptly forced it out of her mind, something was being used to drive her insane so she wouldn't be of use to the humans anymore, but she vowed to herself to not let it get to her too much.
The following morning they continued their trek, Ember maintained her speed by making sure she was in the middle of the group. She wondered if humanity would ever return to its glorious reign on the planet after the Locust were wiped out, would she be remembered for her sacrifice?
"Hey there's a dill over there!" Dom called out, pointing over the thick bushes, they all stopped and turned to see a run down vehicle amongst the leaves and mud. Baird turned into his engineering prime.
"Yeah!" He hooted with delight as he fought his way through the thistles, not caring for the scratches they caused on his skin. "Man! I love my life!" He grinned.
"I'm sure you do baby!" Cole chuckled as he followed his best buddy through the thorny bushes. "Don't forget to give it a kiss."
The mechanic examined the vehicle intently, before opening the side door and, thanking his lucky stars as he went, turned the keys to the engine. It rumbled weakly to life.
"Doesn't sound to healthy." He commented. "But it's nothing I can't fix, hey Merlin, magic me some tools will ya?"
Ember scowled at the name but clicked her heel regardless, the toolbox would've landed on his head had he not dodged out of the way. He chuckled as he opened the box and pulled out his needed equipment. He opened the engine hood and looked around inside.
"Won't be a minute." He muttered to them, as he dived into repairing the engine. Ember looked around the forest carefully, she thought that the fact the dill was here in the middle of nowhere puzzled her, but judging from the mens reaction she presumed that this case was normal. True to his word, Baird had fixed the Dill's engine, he turned the keys again and this time it rumbled on more healthily.
"And this is why we love Baird." Dom grinned to Ember. "He's an asshole, but he's our asshole."
They clambered into the Dill, Marcus taking his usual role as the driver with Dom sitting beside him. Ember sat at the back with Baird and Cole, she was tired but thankful that they would get to Kinnerlake much quicker. Ember thought that the Dill was a strange contraption that somehow moves them and itself to a place much quicker, she was fasinated by how it worked and now appreciated Bairds addiction to machines.
Before she knew it, she found herself in a deep slumber drifting deeper and deeper into the darkness. She whimpered silently inside as the scene of the Nexus palace flickered into her head. Myrrah was sat on a one of the important chairs, not her throne this time, in front of a huge war map of Sera.
"Come on Ember, where are you?" She muttered angrily. "We need you back so we can kill you."
"I won't give away my location that easy." Ember hissed in her head. "You're twisted, have you not seen how these people suffer?"
The Queen smirked and leant forward over the map."What about our people Ember? We're being taken over by the plague, I tried to compromise with their Chairman but he refused all the same."
"The plague, that's a good one, you pushed the people you hated into the Immulsion knowing what it would cost us, so you can give us a good reason to be desperate enough to beg the humans into letting us live with them." The priestess said hotly. "Even though the chairman didn't like the idea of us living alongside the humans he was willing to allow us to, but no, you went further and manipulated him into giving us a flat out no so you could have the war you wanted!"
"But you told your so called pathetic squad, that their Chairman refused not the fact that I manipulated his mind." Myrrah smirked as she rapped her fingers against the mapped table.
"Because he was in love with YOU and his successor Prescott was jealous. He said he would allow us to live along with his people. But of course, you wanted a war and used his and Prescott's love for you against them, telling them that his people would never accept us and that they must be wiped off the face of the earth and only then would you both be together. They agreed and so we ended up with this pathetic war!"
"But Ember, the diamond told me it was important to have this war against the humans." She protested. Ember turned away from her furiously and walked to the small altar that stood against the pillar gently picking up the trinity of worms symbol and kissing it.
"The diamond told me that it's important that we didn't go to war with the Humans since they are the ruling race with masses of power, you've seen how they've used it. Yes they've used it against us and themselves, but they have the power to crush us. With one squad."
"So will you not return and fight alongside with us?"
Ember placed the precious symbol back on the small table and turned to face the Queen once more. "Nothing will change my mind, not even my own husband Skorge. So no."
Myrrah laughed coldly and got out of her chair. "Well Ember, it seems nothing will change your mind about this weak race. I bid you and the humans farewell, Skorge is on his way to have you executed."
Ember woke with a start, although she managed somehow not to attract the squad's attention. She noted on Baird's watch that she had been asleep for three hours, impressive feat.
"We're here." Marcus growled.
And so was Skorge and a horde of Locust, her own people, who have turned against her.
Chapter Eighteen: The Chase Edit
They stood in their hundreds, waiting for Delta to exit the dill. Marcus scanned the area, trying to figure on where would be the safe spot to hide oblivous that the Locust army were hidden in the derelict buildings. Ember breathed heavily knowing that at any moment they would strike and they were helpless. Marcus went to open the door but Ember stopped him by gently pulling him back.
"No, wait." She said as she squinted through the windshield. They were here, she could sense it, she could feel the prickle of their presence on her skin. "They're here, waiting for us. Myrrah sent them here to have me executed."
Marcus grunted in annoyance but remained still all the same. Ember closed her eyes trying to focus on the enemy presence around her. "We're safe at the moment. But if we cross that bridge then we'll have no chance of escape or survival, we're going to have to work our way around this."
"Couldn't we call for back up?" Dom asked the sergeant.
Marcus pondered for a moment. "We could try."
They all paused for a moment as they gazed out the windshield to see a figure walking across the bridge, the priestess felt her heart sank horribly as she recognised the formation of that figure. Skorge stood before them, staring straight at Ember through the windshield.
"Marcus, is that..." Dom started.
"Yeah, it is." Marcus replied, he too was slightly shocked to find that Skorge was still alive even though they knew he was. He saw Ember close her eyes tight in horror through the mirror and then he knew instantly that Ember was to do with Skorge's survival. Skorge didn't move but he maintained his stoic manner and glare at Ember.
"I'm going to have to talk to him." She said nervously as she reached out to open the door.
"Well you're not going out on your own." Marcus growled as he too opened the door next to him and climbed out. The rest of the squad followed them outside until they reached the Kantus priest who was still staring darkly at Ember.
"Skorge..." Ember whispered. Skorge growled angrily and leant lazily on his staff.
"Ember, you know why I'm here don't you." Skorge hissed. "You have still decided to keep up with this pathetic charade."
Ember nervously rubbed the back of her neck. "I thought you were giving me a week on this."
"I guess I've changed my mind, and the queen had run out of patience, she wanted you and the humans over and done with quickly." He smirked, but then he fell onto his knees which earned a a small shocked gasp from Delta. "Please Ember, do not make me do what I was sent to do. I love you in the way that I understand love."
Ember sighed and squeezed her eyes shut to prevent tears from spilling down her cheeks. "No I will not stop, because these people deserve freedom. She's gone mad Skorge, you know that as well as I do." She then looked around the area behind him for any others. "For the sake of the worms, pick yourself up, you'll disgrace yourself by making yourself look like a beggar."
Skorge nodded and stood up again. "I beg you one last time, come back to us and stop this charade."
"But you will be safe with us, you will earn back the power and trust of your people and the queen."
"I said no."
Skorge sighed. "So this is it then. There is no way of changing your mind. I bid you farewell."
He then moved closer to her and gently kissed her on her forehead. "I love you, never forget that, I'll give you and your men a few minutes to prepare yourselves before you enter the city."
Ember nodded, and then Skorge was gone. Back into the haven of the destroyed city.
She stared out into the city opening at the end of the bridge, terrified to move or say another word. Then she felt a firm gauntlet hand rest softly on her shoulder, she turned to see that it belonged to Marcus who gazed down on her.
"You okay?" He asked gruffly. Ember nodded not wanting to speak another word, she was far to ashamed look any of the men in the eye.
"There's no turning back." She said gravely. "They've surrounded us, we have no choice but to go in there and face them ourselves."
He nodded and then turned to the rest of the men.
"Make sure your all stocked up on ammo." He growled. "We're going straight in."
Ember blinked in shock. "What?"
Marcus smirked as he grabbed her by the arm and frogmarched her back to the Dill. "I said, we're going straight in, take 'em head on."
"You guys are so damn suicidal." She exclaimed. They all chuckled at her comment.
"Who said we wasn't." Marcus retorted.
Ember hoped this all went well, she was teamed up with Cole and being next to him made her feel safe even though they were in grave danger. It turned out that Marcus meant "head on" as in going round them and flanking them rather than, what she presumed, going in the middle of the city centre and shooting for your dear life. Sure she had powers strong enough to wipe out an army of Locust, but Skorge was there, and his powers equalled hers and possibly a little bit more.
She and Cole crept through the derelict building until they had reached Baird who was crouching over a dead soldier. She watched as he pocketed the corpse's tags and pull out a small ear plug that linked up to the small radio that was attached to the dead soldier's belt.
"Here," Baird muttered as he gently pulled Ember closer to him. "let me put this on yer."
He wiped the small ear plug with his dirtied handkerchief before gently pushing it into her ear. She winced at the small pain it caused.
"Sorry." He whispered. "It'll soften up in a few minutes."
He fiddled with the small radio, and Ember heard a small click as the ear plug and the radio switched on. Baird turned a small dial and then attached it to Ember's belt. She blinked as the ear plug buzzed in her ear.
"Can you hear us?" Marcus growled. Ember jumped slightly at how loud he was.
"Loud and clear, baby!" Cole grinned, winking at Ember.
"Yeah, what he said." Ember chuckled, winking back at Cole. They followed Baird who lead them to a door at the end of the corridor, Ember could just about hear Locust soldiers grunting orders and banters at each other. She waited a few moments until Baird gave the signal to go.
The weakened wooden door collapsed and the five Locust soldiers inside jump with surprised before grabbing their wits together to fire back at the two soldiers and a priestess. Baird and Cole returned fire whilst ducking and dodging the bullets when there was no need since Ember erected an invisible shield around them. The Locust in the small room didn't stand a chance and eventually fell down in a piled bloody mess.
"Well done baby." Cole hissed with joy, grinning at Ember who smirked back.
"Well considering I hardly done anything I did do a good job." She gloated sarcastically, winking at Cole who chuckled.
Baird hissed at them to get a move on and they promptly crept over to him and ducked behind a fallen pillar which he hid behind. Ember could sense a group of wretches, a few drones and a Boomer.
"Ember, can you deal with the Boomer?" Baird whispered, glancing over the broken pillar. "He seems more bigger than any others I've seen before."
Ember rolled her eyes and smirked at him. "Boomers are usually the same size, I suppose you're wetting your pants because you're so scared."
Baird scowled. "No, because you have the abilities to vanquish enemies in one hit whilst it takes me and Cole several rounds to pop 'em."
"All right, point taken. Let's get this over with."
They paused and waited a moment until the Drones were close enough before leaping out of their hiding spot. Baird and Cole downed two drones each with the first spray of bullets. Ember trained her focus on the Boomer, trying to drain his energy until he died of exhaustion, she had leant this tiny trick during her training. Boomers, though slow and dumb as they were. They got exhausted pretty quickly because each move they made took a lot of effort which was why they usually stood on the spot when in battle only moving a few times. The Boomer collapsed, but he wasn't fully exhausted yet, and Ember didn't want him to suffer from tiredness any longer.
She changed the poisonous air that surrounded the Boomer to something more lethal which killed him instantly. The effects of the drowsyness and the lethal poison was so instant the Drone hadn't even took a shot at Ember. The Boomer lay dead, not a blood spilled nor any pain and it was this fact that put Ember's mind to rest, if she was to kill her own people, she'd do it without them suffering.
A sharp pain gnawed on her back as a wretch tried to clamber onto her causing his claws to scratched her back viciously, Ember yelped as she tried to pull it off. The wretch shrieked down her ear making them numb to any sound. Ember managed to yank the skrieking wretch off and strangle it to death. She never did like wretches, so she was all too happy to kill it violently.
As the drones fell down one by one, the wretches made a vain attempt to escape but they were no match to Ember's abilities which killed them all as they clambered desperately over the crumbling pillar.
"Shit, I've never seen wretches try to escape battle before." Baird muttered, looking at the dead wretches with disgust.
"Me neither." Ember replied, kicking a drone body to check if it was still breathing. The Comm buzzed in their ears as Marcus' voice boomed.
"Shit, they're on the rooftops of the Mall." He bellowed. "We need to get there now!"
"Understood baby!" Cole boomed back, and sprinted up the stairs with Baird and Ember in tow. Ember felt her stomach twist with nerves with each step she climbed and almost felt like passing out when they reached the door to rooftops. She'd never felt so scared in her life and it had something to do with the fact that she was going to have to kill her husband. Baird and Cole booted the door down and rushed out onto the rooftops. They fired openly and Ember joined them erecting a shield around them. But it faltered as quickly as it came. Behind the huge group of Locust, Skorge stood in the middle of them staring angrily at her.
Ember screamed at him.
Chapter Nineteen: The Battle Of Kinnerlake Edit
Ember felt like she was in a dream, everything around her seemed to have slowed down but at the same time everything seemed to be moving so quickly. She found herself flying through the air, like a feather in the wind and then all so quickly she found herself slammed to the ground with a Boomer's hand pushing her face against the solid concrete. For a moment she found herself lost in the haze as gunfire flew past her from all directions, she didn't know where Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird are. She had lost complete control of herself, with no sense of direction or plan.
Then a surge of energy filled her and she was able to blow the Boomer right off her, killing him instantly. Gathering her strength, she moved onto the next enemy racing towards her. She could not get over the colourful sounds of the battle filling her ears, the Locust roaring, the men grunting and yelling, the chainsaw bayonets of lancers growling and wailing, and Skorge... Skorge's constant chanting. She had to get to him before he managed to summon any reinforcements, Ember noted that so far, she and the men were doing rather well considering the huge numbers of Locust. Drones, Boomers, Wretches, Tickers, a few Reavers and a Brumak somewhere lurking around the city, it's omimous booming from it's every footsteps seemed to edge closer to them.
Trying not to think too much on the lurking Brumak, Ember slammed her way into a dozen Drones before crashing into yet another Boomer. She bounced back, stunned from the impact before gathering her strength again to blast the bugger over the rooftop. She turned to find Baird next to her with his sniper aiming at a Drone's head, he pulled the trigger and the head exploded in a rather satisfying explosion.
"You know, you should marry your sniper." Ember chuckled as she ducked beside him behind a concrete block.
"No shit, I've had this fella since E-day." Baird smirked as he closed the bullet chamber and hauled the Longshot over the concrete block to get an aim at the next unlucky Drone. An ear piercing wail filled Embers ears and she turned to see a wretch jump at her from a huge crate behind her, but it was shot in mid-air by Dom.
"You okay Ember?" Dom called as he proceeded to the Boomer that was about to pummel him with its boomshot. Ember wasn't able to reply but she helped Dom by spreading a poisonous cloud around the Boomer making it weaker and more exhausted so Dom was able to finish him quickly.
Skorge's chanting grew louder as they fought their way closer to him, killing one Locust at a time. Ember felt a small panic attack wash over her at the prospect of confronting Skorge once again face to face, knowing that this time either she or he will be killed at the end of the meeting. Just as they climbed over the next ridge on the roof of the building, something unexpected happened. A loud chop-chop-chop sound came from beside them, everyone including the Locust themselves turned to see a Raven.
"Delta, you crazy bunch of asswipes! You seriously think you can take these bastards down yourselves!" The Colonel's voice boomed down their ears via the Tac-comms, Ember almost jumped out of her skin due to how loud Hoffman's voice was.
"Well thanks for joining us Colonel, we were doing so well!" Marcus bellowed back as he kicked a Ticker towards a group of Drones, the Ticker exploded and with it, the Drones fell into a bloodied heap. The Colonel chuckled and then ordered the other Ravens to drop off the Gears around various spots of the city.
"Marcus, the Locust will not stop advancing us until Skorge is dead!" Ember called at the Sergeant. "I have to be the one to kill him!"
Marcus nodded, and Ember ran ahead of the group, racing past Locust at such speed they did not see her. Skorge stood on a huge aerial. Chanting repeatedly which caused more and more Locust to join the fight.
Just one blow... She thought as she edged closer Just one blow and that will decrease Myrrah's chances of stopping me.
The Colonel stepped down from the Raven and raced down towards Delta before any shots could be fired at him. Marcus nodded at him in a cold greeting and Hoffman did the same, the others learnt their history well enough to know how "loving" they were to each other.
"Fenix! Where the hell is the Cardinal?" He demanded as he peered over the fallen statue with his lancer, firing at Boomer that was pounding his way towards them with Drones and Tickers following.
"She gone to take down Skorge!" Marcus replied loudly over the noise of of the gunfire. "She's the only one that can stop him!"
Hoffman didn't reply, but they all knew he understood what was said. There was a deafening roar from the other side of the building, and if Baird's intelligence told him what it was.
"Aww shit man! The Brumak's here!" He groaned as he turned to see a large, round, dinosaur-like face staring back at him, it's jagged teeth bearing a menacing grin. Baird was certain that his end had come, but Marcus knew better.
"KR-274, can you deal with the Brumak, we're sitting ducks over here!" He bellowed down his comm.
"Roger that Sergeant we're coming your way now." The pilot replied and diverted his Raven over to their location, the Brumak saw the Raven coming towards him and roared again. The soldiers watched in horror as the Brumak took a swipe at the Raven, but sighed with relief when it missed. The Gears on the Raven fired a missile at the Brumak, it hit straight into it's chest, the Brumak roared and tried to swipe at the Raven again, the Raven banked left missing the Brumak's fist by an inch before firing another missile, killing the monster at last.
Meanwhile Delta returned to fighting off another onslaught of Locust, they seemed to keep coming relentlessly. All they could do is to fight on until Ember had finished Skorge for good.
Ember teetered closer to Skorge who was stood on a radio aerial, shrieking out his chants that encouraged the Locust to keep fighting. Ember hid underneath a pile of rubble, nervously waiting for some courage to fill her and for the right time to strike. Stamping her foot, she managed to summon her old staff which she used in certain battles; she was certainly going to need it here because Skorge had his.
There was no point in striking him with any powers right now because whilst in chanting mode, it automatically forms a protective bubble around the high priest only. Finally after a deep breath she got out of her hiding place and faced her husband.
"Skorge." She said simply, the high priest stopped chanting and looked down to see Ember. He jumped down to her level and then bowed. Ember did the same out of the same respect he showed her before going into her attack stance. And then the two striked at each other, with different killing enchantments, occasionally swiping each other with their staffs. The blows it caused were punishing enough, and were capable of killing hundreds by their sheer power.
Not one Locust nor Human noticed the two priests fighting and that was the way Ember wanted it to stay for now. With Skorge no longer chanting, there will be no more Locust bubbling up from the grounds and soon the current numbers will dwindle out by the advancing Gears. The fight between the Gears and Locust soon did finish, with the Gears emerging victorious, now their attentions turned to Ember and Skorge who were in the heat of a battle against each other. Skorge had slightly more power than Ember did, but that still didn't mean that Ember was incapable of overcoming him.
Skorge hit her around the head with his staff, knocking her to the side. He raised his staff ready for the final fatal blow, Ember was too weak and dizzy to fight back and clenched her eyes shut, waiting for the him to deliver the kill.
But it never came, a recognisable shout called out her name and Ember opened her eyes to see that Skorge had backed off and that Marcus and the rest of Delta were running towards her, shooting at Skorge. But the priest didn't fight back, nor did he attempt to attack Ember, he couldn't do it. Pain and confusion teared his face before he whistled for his Reaver and sped off.
Dom and Baird crouched besides Ember, gently helping her to sit up. She was stunned, if not from the concussion then from the fact the Skorge could not kill her.
"You okay?" Dom asked, as Baird started to inspect the back of her head carefully for any sign of cuts or bumps before testing her eyesight.
"He could not do it." She muttered to herself repeatedly. Baird looked up at Ember and then to Dom and finally at Hoffman and Marcus.
"She's fine, although I think she could do with some rest." Baird told them, and then, with the help of Dom, he helped Ember to her feet and led her away from the rooftops and back down onto the streets where the tents were being set up and the dead cleared off the streets.
Chapter Twenty: Unwanted Edit
He wasn't the kind of man to worry, to panic or at least show content with someone or something. But he had to admit, to himself at least, that seeing Ember shaking and crying on the floor after fighting Skorge, deeply disturbed him.
Baird took his head out of the engine of the dill after battling wires and spots of oil to retrieve his wrench that had somehow escaped his firm hand. He reached down to grab his half empty carton of water and drank the rest of the liquid. He remembered her constantly repeating: "He couldn't do it." Which made him wonder why Skorge didn't deliver the final blow but regardless; they had been lucky that he hadn't.
He took Ember to one of the tents next to the COG official tent which was the biggest out of the lot. She was probably still there recovering from the battle. He stupidly thought for one dizzying second that they had lost her.
Shit, have I become a father to her or something? He pondered as he dropped the carton next to his toolbox and leant on the dill for support. He was exhausted and the thought of a nice warm bed tempted him to enter one of the tents that was set up exclusively for Delta.
"Yo' Baird baby!" Cole boomed happily, Baird blinked as he watched Cole walk towards him cutting a small path through a crowd of Gears with his sheer size. Baird secretly envied his best friend for having the ability to make way through large crowds of people simply by walking through them. Cole could easily have been mistaken as a Brumak's baby or something. The thought made him chuckle slightly.
"Hey man what's so funny?" The ex-thrashball player asked as he playfully punched Baird on the arm.
"Nothing," Baird answered, nursing his dead arm profusely. "Just thought of something, anyway what's up?"
Cole shook his head and grinned. "The Colonel wants a word with the whole of Delta, bout some shit we're doin."
Baird sighed, "Great another pep talk."
Cole raised his hands in protest. "Hey man, don't shoot the messenger!"
The mechanic yawned as he closed the toolbox and flung it into the dill, locking the doors so no stranded scum nicked anything. Not that they could get away with it seeing as how many tents filled the entire street. He strode off towards the COG tent with Cole in tow, grumbling about not getting any peace.
Marcus stood at the entrance of the huge COG tent, watching a blonde woman sort out papers on a ready made desk. To him, it felt like a crime to admire her beauty in the midst of COG personnel, but to be quite frank, he couldn't give a shit. Anya was fucking beautiful. The electric heat intensified inside him as she walked past him, failing to notice him. He smirked slightly as she walked past him again. Mathieson left the tent, so it was just him and her now.
He silently plucked up the nerve to talk to her. She had her back to him as she signed some documents, he slowly crept behind her. Her waist was so slender, he could just lightly stroke the shape of her form.
"Anya." He said in a low growl. He felt her jump inside as she turned to face him. She relaxed when she saw finally that it was him.
"Oh, Marcus." She breathed, this was close, too close for her. And she was certain that this was too close for the likes of Marcus, whose gruff exterior would frighten the lights out of anyone who got in his bad books. "This is the COG tent." She reminded him in scoldingly, but the effect failed her.
"No ones here." He growled. He just wanted her essence, her soft blue eyes scanned his face lightly, the heat filled her as his face edged closer to hers.
"Right, go and wake Ember, see how she is, if she's still hurt then leave her to rest, if not then get her in this meeting," Hoffman barked to a COG officer as he entered the tent. Marcus and Anya quickly pulled away from each other, shuffling to try and look like nothings happened. Hoffman hadn't noticed how closer Marcus and Anya were when he entered, he was too busy focusing on the meeting. Shortly after, Cole, Dom and Baird entered the tent in silence and stood behind the chairs opposite Hoffman. Mathieson, Ember and even Doctor Hayman a tough looking elderly woman who stood her ground at times had joined the meeting.
Ember looked weak and exhausted as she took the seat in between Baird and Dom. Marcus joined their side of the table as Anya sat between Mathieson and Hayman on the otherside. Hoffman fixed a stare on Ember.
"Glad you can join us." He said sharply. "You've kept us teetering on the edge of our seats, perhaps you can explain why you went straight into the big arena which nearly got you killed?"
Ember swallowed hard. "I had to Colonel."
Hoffman stared at her in disbelief. "Had to? What do you mean had to? My boys near defeated him last time round, you couldn't compete up to that."
"I had known that Delta had near defeated him, I have however regenerated his health after finding him lying injured after that battle, he had since gained a lot of power making it near impossible for human soldiers to defeat him."
Hoffman bit his lip hard in anger. "Nursed him back to health? Why?"
Ember paused choosng her words carefull as she stared down on the polished wood table that had endured sixteen years of war and still stood like brand new. "Because he's my husband, I did what any wife would do when their partners aren't well."
The response earned several hard stares from the war hardened people. Ember maintained her fixed stare on the table, not wanting to look up at anyone.
"So you were married to him?" Baird asked in disbelief. Ember nodded in humiliation, her face burning like fire. Baird whistled sarcastically and leant back in his chair and folded his arms, looking around at the others to see their reactions at Ember's revelation.
Hoffman sighed and silently fumed to himself until he ran out of steam. He then turned to Doctor Hayman who nodded at him coldly, he then turned back to the Delta Squad.
"Anyway, moving on." Hoffman said hurriedly. "Ember must go to the Medical Tent."
The Colonel fixed another cold, hard stare at the priestess. "She needs to be tagged." He added at the end of her line.
Hoffman scowled angrily at the cheek of this Locust woman who simply smirked back at him in response. "Because we cannot risk losing her."
"Since when would I get lost Colonel?" She asked, trying to sound innocent enough, just to get on Hoffman's last nerve. But it appeared that he had rebuked the challenge to rise up against her. He had quickly caught on to her motive.
"We cannot risk it Cardinal." He said, calming down again. "The way you have nearly got yourself killed had us teetering on the edge of our seats, you die and we die. Remember?"
"Yes Colonel, I remember it crystal clear." She yawned, already fed up of the meeting. Hoffman sighed and got up out of his seat, he declared the meeting over and marched off to the small area of the tent where his chipped oak desk was waiting for him. Ember stalked off with Doctor Hayman in tow, muttering under her breath about how she could look after herself. Baird, Marcus, Dom and Cole followed behind, Marcus gave his lieutenant a last meaningful glance before leaving the tent completely. Anya breathed again, trying to recover from the butterflies in her stomach.
She was secretly impressed that Marcus could still have that small effect on her, making her ditzy like some silly schoolgirl. But she loved it, the way he made her feel. The way he supported her after her mother, Major Helena Stroud, died on the battlefield of Aspho. She remember the kiss she and Marcus shared when they returned to her mother's old apartment after that pain-stakingly awkward dinner at that posh restaurant. It still burned her lips and it still sent that warm fiery chill down her spine just by remembering it. Marcus didn't like public affection, and any public affection would wind them up on charges. So they swore to each other that night, that anything intimate between them had to be done in private, when they weren't on duty.
Anya quickly shook herself out of her thoughts, and quickly looked at Hoffman who was still on his desk signing papers and reading them. She was relief to find that he hadn't noticed that she was still there and quickly marched out of the tent before he did.
Ember sat on a rather comfortable and clean seat as Doctor Hayman's assistant prepared the needle that contained the tiny tagging device. Her stomach tied itself in a knot at how big it was.
That bastard ordered them to use the biggest one they had She fumed silently as the assistant gently rubbed her arm. Ember felt sorry for this woman, fancy having to work for an ill-tempered Doctor like Hayman. She closed her eyes and faced the wall beside her as the assistant pressed the needle into her and injected the contents.
It was over before she knew it, the doctor gave her a piece of cotton wool to hold against the pierced skin until stopped bleeding before letting Ember free from the eyewatering bleach scent that covered each corner of the tent.
She looked around for Delta before coming to the decision that they'll be in their designated tent. She peered inside the main tent to find it empty, she couldn't be bothered to look for them and so made her way to her bed in the sealed off area. And collapsed in an exhausted heap on the warm sheets, she slowly found herself in another vision of the Queen who stood at a small war table, staring hardly at a mirrored cabinet.