Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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Diane folded her arms as Eric stopped outside the elevator. “This is where we part ways, Diane. Your work is finished, for now.”
“Finished for now?” Diane repeated with disdain. “You still will not tell me who recounted my past?”
Eric shook his head, which made Diane even more annoyed, jaw locking when he added, “I doubt you’ll ever know as even I do not understand. I simply know what I must do.”
“Tck,” Diane walked off to her bedchambers. I could get in a lot of trouble if Benjamin figures out what I have done … but what have I done? Really all Eric wanted was to show Kari his other half-sister’s death? They were friends, obviously, and Jenny lied to Kari or didn’t tell her the whole truth. But why, in this circumstance, would Eric take time for that? It just does not make sense and his comment about the werewolves … something is in the works, something terrible…
Diane fumed, she couldn’t figure it out, but that was what intrigued her about Eric. He took another turn, throwing out everything she thought she knew about him. From what I can deduce about the Miami scene, he was calm, calculative, and methodical in the placement of his pack. He then grew sporadic and heated, tripping him up and setting him back. Yet, his personality changed after coming here; he became more impulsive, extensively aggressive even.
Turning down the hall that would lead to her room, she hummed thoughtfully. His personality changed again … but when, after his blood bath with the Kelpie? No, that wasn’t it; it was after that, after his incident with Sora. It hit her like a truck. When all the men blacked out … he stayed, he was sitting against the wall, staring into space. That was around the eye incident…
Opening the entrance to her living section, she walked a few doors in and proceeded through the left door into her room. Resting on her single bed, she thought darkly. It wasn’t Eric that knocked out those men; it was Morgane, but why? After being away from society for so long, why now?
The only answer she could come up with was Sora. A third-generation Founder had shown up. She was a little nervous about Eric’s final comment. Then again … what if it is not Morgane? Morgane is powerful, but that eye … it’s something else, entirely unknown, horrifying. In all likeliness, it should be Morgane, but what if it is someone or something different?
“Who am I dealing with?” She growled. Not taking off her clothes, she found her mind wandering aimlessly for several minutes before falling asleep.
* * *
Diane’s mind was forced awake as an alarm split the air. “This is a base-wide alert. Code red three, cameras compromised, monster breakout and rampant. All military personnel report to defensive positions. All non-military personnel retreat to safe zones. This is not a drill. I repeat…”
Mind going frantic; it took a moment for Diane to understand what was happening. Monsters, rampant? The werewolves! That is what Eric was talking about. The link to their creator is not a bond to their bestiality, but their humanity! Why am I only getting this now? The stupidity of Ranglor and Benjamin! Ranglor always has to push his experiments too far, and Gerard isn’t here to be the foot in his face!
Leaping out of bed, she dashed to the control room, which was only a few halls away. When she arrived, her stomach turned over with horror, and she had to steel her nerves as she put her hand to her mouth. Benjamin was there with several personnel as three leading programming engineers were working at bloody consoles. Fifteen bloodied bodies were stacked against each other in the corner, and she knew what she had done.
I did this, but I did not think … he was acting so docile! I could not have known! When Eric dismissed me, he came here. I charmed these men to be passive, so we could show his sister the feed unhindered. It would have worn off in just five more minutes, but … Eric had something else planned, something he needed more time…
Benjamin’s infuriated face screwed up as she walked through the door. “Diane! This is a disaster! The werewolves are on a rampage. As far as I know, I’ve lost twenty men already. It’s even more vicious than what I saw of the Tennessee event! Silver takes them down, but it takes a whole clip just to kill one; they’ve gone insane!”
Putting his hand up to his ear his face grew even more frustrated. “Section E fall back and regroup. Retreat five seconds and throw a silver pellet grenade to try and keep them at bay—Charlie! Charlie!” He swore viciously. “I lost another group! They’re throwing themselves at us like suicide soldiers, and there are over a hundred of them!”
Glaring at the monitors, he snarled. “And somehow, someone got into the main observation deck and deleted all our footage, while somehow causing a power surge that shorted out the cameras. We’re blind!”
Diane’s body felt numb. The charm I placed on the men. They did whatever Eric said, and then he killed them, but why? Is he after Sora or escaping? Would he leave his sister? I’m not sure … I’m not sure … I do not know … why do I not know what he is thinking! Because it makes no sense! The ward … I can’t feel it … when…
Taking a deep breath, she tried blocking out Benjamin’s voice and the crowd of people. Calm down and think of what I do know. He knew about my past and used it as an access card. Set up a display for Kari to show Jenny’s death, thereby breaking her will. Yet in the process, he also knew what her death would bring and used it to his advantage. Kills everyone in the observation room to go unnoticed and give the werewolves a smokescreen, buying him even more time. Diane’s jaw snapped together. Whatever it is, he needs time. He does not want to be disturbed or at least it seems that way.
Her senses returned as Benjamin’s hand grasped her shoulder and began shaking her. “Hey, Diane, this is no time to be spacing out!”
Brushing off his hand, Diane growled, “I am thinking!”
Walking a few paces away and staring at the wall with folded arms, she brooded silently. I cannot get blamed for this. My whole career, reputation, everything I have worked for … the last hundred years will have been for nothing! How could I not have seen this coming, Eric is not the person to put your trust in, but … was I scared of the information he had? How long has it been since I have truly lost control … I lose control … how long? A long time.
A thought occurred as she glanced at the monitors. Eric destroyed all the footage … I just need to shift the blame, and I know the perfect target.
Turning to the group, Diane asked, “Benjamin, do you have contact with the men stationed in front of Eric’s room?”
Benjamin’s brow came together as he asked for a report on Eric. His eyes widened at the response. “Idiots! What do you mean he’s not in his room?”
Diane shook her head while masking a smile. “It is not their fault. They were probably charmed.”
Benjamin gazed at the floor, reflecting on her words. “Charmed? You mean the Vulpes … but the Founder wouldn’t be caught dead with Eric, and we have her friend and father…” His vision narrowed. “Fen, she has to be working with Eric. They probably cut a deal somehow.”
Yelling into his speaker, he asked, “Where’s Fen and Jian?” His expression shifted to confusion. “The cafeteria?” Voice stern, Benjamin said, “Good, you have all the halls locked down with the M60’s, fire on sight.”
Diane continued to manipulate the situation away from herself. “You should not confront Fen about it right away, but set a trap. Jian makes things difficult, but what if we get him in the arena.”
“And who would fight him?” Benjamin asked quizzically.
“The dragon will fight Jian, and possibly even the Valkyrie. It is saddening, but at this point, we are having difficulty keeping the dragon under, and it is only a matter of time before the Valkyrie breaks free again. I think we both know what will happen if that incident repeats.”
A smile lit her cheeks at the shiver that ran down Benjamin’s frame. “Also add the Fenris Wolf. I normally would not like this idea, but with the Vice-President and President coming, we need to clean inventory. That also means the Tennessean Monsters, what is left of them.”
Benjamin looked pleased with her idea. “What about the Senator and Fen?”
“We can cover everything up with the werewolf breakout with the Senator. Fen will be with us in the observer’s box. She’ll be the hostage; if Jian does not fight, then I will kill her. No different, we are just setting the scene.” Diane answered.
Kelsey came rushing in, panting and ashen-faced. “What—is,” she hesitated for a second catching her breath. “What’s going on?”
“We’re locking everything down,” Benjamin replied with a broad smile.
Diane’s expression turned serious. “Did you get Sora into the room?”
Kelsey looked flustered. “I think.”
Eyes narrowing, she asked, “What do you mean by that?”
“I—I had the attendants take her.” She squeaked.
Diane’s face turned livid. “She has to stay safe! At least until the President arrives!”
“I sent two guards with them,” Kelsey added weakly.
Benjamin’s eager demeanor had returned. “Kangstly, Real, are you two with the Vulpes?”
“What!” Benjamin yelled. “You found both their corpses down the hall leading to the room?” His expression relaxed a little. “The sealing room has been activated? That means that at least one person had to have gone in.”
Diane breathed darkly. “That does not mean it is her.”
Benjamin shook his head. “You found the attendants? Did she go into the room?” He glared in Diane’s direction. “Sora protected them from two werewolves and then had them hide in a research room. We don’t have any eyes on her at any of the checkpoints, which means she hasn’t left the floor and the door was sealed shut. She has to be in there.”
Diane seethed. I don’t like guessing, but I have a lot to plan, and we have to finish this extermination plan before the President arrives. As long as she has not left the floor, then it should be fine. Her teeth closed around her thumbnail. What I am most worried about is Eric, but he has not been seen, and the elevators have been locked down since the incident.
Interrupting Benjamin as he began making preparations, she asked, “Are the exit guards still alive?”
Checking, Benjamin nodded. “They report nothing out of the ordinary.”
Diane nodded with deep relief. Eric is still in the base. Whatever he has planned, I do not want to interfere too much in. He does have information on me, but he should run to the arena when he realizes Kari’s there. Hopefully, he will be killed. Nodded, Diane said, “Right, we cannot waste another second. Begin the preparations.” I must escape this bullet.