"Where should we start?" Jack asked, looking around.
All the giant screen advertisments flickered. "He's here." Allen said.
The largest of the screens suddenly ruptured, spilling sparks and parts of the screen onto the road below. Some people gaped in astonishment as the screen winked out, and came back to life. The cracked screen displayed a full red backround, which soon caught to the other advertisments as well. Time square was now at a stand still. Cars that should have been moving were at a dead standstill now. People paused in the middle of the roads as the crimson glow washed over them. Then somwhere, a pin dropped, and the crowd panicked. Black skulls apeared with a cross of electric bolts underneath. Then in bold letters, one by one, it spelled a sentence. SKEITH IS HERE. Then the entire square went dark.
Terror spread like wild fire and the flocks of people dispersed, leaving Allen and the gang behind. Electricity arced from the broken screen onto the ground, giving birth to a slightly fuzzy figure, which solidified. His red eyes peirced the darkness of the square, slightly illuminating his face.
"Dallas." Jack whispered, and her heart lifted.
The figure cocked his head, the red eyes blinking before flashing out. "J-Jack?" Dallas said, his throat raw.
"dallas!" Artemis ran forward and pulled him into a rib cracking hug. Mycayla pulled Jack to the side.
"I know how you can fix him!"
"what?" Jack asked, dubiously "how!"
"You know, in all those fairy tales--" Mycayla started
"No, I know where this is going and I am not kissing him." Jack crossed her arms, Mycayla looked over at Dallas, still being hugged by art.
"Come on, you know when you do something weird to a computer, it totally flips out!"
'I've never kissed a computer before. I wouldn't know." Jack said, seriously.
"Art...Can't breathe." Dallas choked out, and Artemis remembered her strength. She let her arms go slack, though still hugging Dallas.
"Now's your chance!" Mycayla pushed Jack forward. Jack walked up to Dallas and Art, looked over her shoulder nervously and turned back towards the hugging people. "Hello Dallas, how have you been?"
"I've been better..." He said, coughing. She ran up and hugged him tightly, disregarding Art, who had to step back quickly to stay out of the way.
"I missed you." She said. "You had me really worried. We thought you were dead."
Dallas coughed, and hugged her back. "I saw you." Dallas said, clearing his throat. "You didn't leave me, not once, when I was sleeping." Jack turned pink and cleared her throat uncomfortably,
"Come on guys, are me and Artemis the only ones who missed him?" She said.
"No, you two are not." Allen said bounding up, and latched his arms around Jack and Dallas and lifted them off the ground. "It's good to know you're alive." He said setting them both down.
"Hey, um, Dallas, whats up with your voice?" Mycayla asked.
"Oh yeah, and why do you keep coughing?" Jack added, serious again.
He coughed, an awful hacking report. "I don't know." He said. "My throat feels like swiss cheese."
"Let's get you back to the helicopter. I know a place that'll fix you up just fine." Allen said. "Come on guys, let's go."
There were some mutterings about how short the whole exchange had been, but everyone grudgingly followed. The streetlights down the road were still working, and it was now past sunset, turning the sky a brilliant orange and purple. Halfway to the streetlight, It flickered and exploded in a flurry of sparks. A dark figure dropped from the flickering filiment landing siniously, like a cat, eyes glowing in a sharp grass green. Female, Dallas realised. Then a moment later, he remembered. "Art, Mycayla, Saia!" He yelled in a garbled fizzing voice. "RUN! GO! GET OUT OF HERE."
The woman raised one hand and pointed one tapered finger at Artemis, and said one word in terrifying recognition, hatred, and furry. "You." Alex stepped forward bravely.
"What about her?" He said, making himself sound tough. "Whats she done to you?"
The woman snapped her arm back to her side. Her glare unflinching. "It's not just her. All ther of them are wanted by the United Military Assembaly." Her form hazed and flashed with a pop of static electricity. All was still. "Be very cautious." Dallas rasped looking every which way. "Stay away from metal surfaces."
"Uh... D-Dallas..." murmered Artemis, shaking a little as Alex tried to calm her down. "We... we're standing on... a sewer grate."
Dallas looked down breifly to see the steel lines. "Ah..." he mumbled to himself, "So we are."
Everyone blinked at this realization.
"Well what the heck are you waiting for, RUN!" shouted Mycayla, pushing several people out of her way so she could step off the grate. Several more followed suit. Artemis, however, was nearly paralyzed with an unknown force. Alex had his hand wrapped around her wrist and he was urging her off the grate, but just as they stepped off, an electric current sped through the grate where Artemis still had one foot connected. The shock shook her body, and since Alex still had his fingers clasped on her, he was knocked out, too. The pair fell to the ground.
Everyone else gasped in horror, and Jack stood for a moment, unsure of what to do. She began to ran towards the pair when the strange black figure slunk from the top of the grate.
Without saying a word, the figure engulfed Artemis and Alex- they both became black figures, then all three sunk into the grate.
All the friends stood silently, Jack holding back tears, and Allen staring at the grate in surprise. "Well," he mused, sighing, "Back to square one."
"Where should we start?" Jack asked, looking around.