Chapter 8: Return to the Bog of the Dead Trees

Longshot was the last to climb down the rope, hitting the ground with a subtle grunt. He scanned the tunnels taking note of the mangled architecture and unearthly mist on the ground.

“I never thought I would see this,” Longshot said.

“It’s kind of…beautiful,” stated Destiny.

“Don’t think for a second we’re out of danger. It might have been better to stay inside Han Tower,” stated Wang.

Resnhu checked on Tiger-heart’s bandage and claimed, “We need to get him to a Hospital.”

“The Tong Elite will be watching all the hospitals,” reminded Longshot

“We may need to take that chance,” stated Wang.

“Maybe not,” interrupted Tech-edge, “I know a place we could go.”

The group did not walk for more than 15 minutes but the twist and turns had everyone lost, except for Tech-edge. Suddenly Tech-edge turned to touch a rock wall and simply stated, “This is it.”

Tech-edge felt around the rock wall until he found a particular crack. He tugged at the rock and it flipped open to reveal a hidden panel. Tech-edge punched a few buttons in the panel.  The rock shimmered like a mirage then faded away to reveal a metal door. It opened as Tech-edge approached. The rest remained in place with apprehension.

“C’mon,” Tech-edge said, “Do you want to stay here or get Tiger-heart some help?”

When all squeezed in, Tech-edge said aloud, “Command Center.”

The elevator began to move up quickly with an unnatural “whoosh” as they past several levels. A few moments later the door opened up to an expansive room full of computer screens, catwalks, technicians, and guards. There was a platform above them with stairs that lead down on both sides close to the elevator. The floor in front of the group was made of glass which looked into a room below that housed a large and sophisticated computer mainframe. Guards were standing on both sides of the group near the stairs. One guard approached Tech-edge. But once the guard recognized him, he stopped and walked back to his post.

“Leonard!” screamed Tech-edge.

A man on the platform straightened up and turned around. He saw the group of Chang Sing and stated, “Oh my God, Tech-edge. What have you done?”

Wang didn’t recognize the man, at first, without his tuxedo. Something told him to look at the wall just above the elevator door. The big bold logo of PACOPS hung over the heads of the Chang Sing. Wang realized that Leonard was Leanard Meng, the C.E.O. of PACOPS the same one that accompanied Han Ling and Chang Sing to the Gala and was working closely with them.

“I had to bring them here,” stated Tech-edge as he made his way up the stairs toward Leonard, “we can’t do this alone. We need their help. One of them is hurt, too.”

The other Chang Sing realized where they were just moments after Wang did.

“PACOPS! We’re in PACOPS! It’s a trap!” screamed Destiny.

Tech-edge turned around to look at the surprised Chang Sing as they raised their weapons for a fight. The guards raised theirs in return and more came running.

“NO!” Tech-edge screamed to the Chang Sing, “It’s not what you think. We can help. The Wing Kong are not the only successful genetic engineering experiments of Dr. Wei.”

But the brash Longshot would not hear of it. He quickly drew back his dagger and took a shot at Leonard Meng as any resident of Chinatown would do if given the chance.

The dagger flew true towards Leonard’s temple. But it stopped just inches in front of it. Another figure stepped forward with the dagger in hand. He was vaguely familiar although Wang was sure he had never met this one before. He looked half Chinese and half white, wearing jeans, boots, and a t-shirt. He could have been no more than 16 years old. Then Wang realized there were about a dozen other figures around him with the same familiar look walking toward him with an undeniable swagger and a flowing mullet.

“Heh,” shrugged the figure with the dagger in his hand “it’s all in the reflexes.”

Like a ragdoll, Tiger-heart slumped onto the floor.

"Quickly, get him to medical,” ordered Tech-edge to the security guards.

Several guards approached the Chang Sing who held up their weapons in defense of their fallen friend. They each kept their gaze on the guards, hoping no one else noticed that they were in no shape for a fight.

“Please, let us help him,” begged Tech-edge, “You may accompany him if you wish.”

Wang nodded to the group. The Chang Sing lowered their weapons. The guards quickly but gently picked up Tiger-heart and put him on a gurney, wheeling him into the elevator. The Chang Sing followed.

Tech-edge ran down the stairs with his brother Leonard in tow and grabbed Wang before he got into the elevator, “Wait,” he said, “Remember, I asked you if you thought it was time to take a side and pick a stand? Do you have an answer?”

Wang had many doubts and questions. But all the things he saw in the past 24 hours, he knew his fight was bigger than he had ever imagined. He also had the nagging suspicion that he had even more enemies than he had seen tonight. Wang knew to his core that to save Little China, he didn’t need friends, he needed allies.

The End

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