Titan Serena Paradise, as a rule, didn't tend to fear anything. She didn't fear life. She didn't fear death. She didn't fear torture. She didn't fear niceties.
When she was thirteen, a man by the name of Li Yan from China took over England, changing it from being free to basically being a prison island. He killed the government and the royal family, and ran everything. Anyone who opposed him was killed outright or sent to the concentration camps.
Titan had watched her father die on the day that Yan took over totally, killed by Yan's bare hands. Her mother had followed shortly after, but Titan herself had run faster than she ever believed possible to the safety of a tunnel she'd found behind her school.
Most people in England, or Yan-Land, as it had been dubbed, were afraid of Yan and his Tyrannians, or the 'Yanolice'. Even most of the rebels. Titan wasn't.
She wasn't just known, she was the most respected person in England, respected by Tyrannians as well as all Britons. Word of her exploits in trying to return the country to how it should be had reached Wales, Scotland and Devon by the tunnel network, and had quickly spread to other countries around the world. Yan hated that, and felt himself burn with anger when he thought of the rebels and of her. Even while he respected her, he hated her. He'd never admit, not even to himself.
Titan was one of the six leaders of the tiny rebellion. Before Miss Anca was imprisoned, she, Titan, Porcelain, Blake, Dodge and the Doc had developed most of the plots to overthrow Yan.
The Tyrannians did everything they could to stop them, but word of the rebels kept getting out. They tried their hardest, but what none of them knew was that they had two traitors in their midst.
This story is best told in her words.
I ran through the tunnels, feeling very stressed out. The Doc, our main plan guy, had just informed me of the newest plan, and I hated it. Since I'd been told, everyone had stayed out of my way, choosing instead to go into rooms for secret meetings rather than be in my prescence.
The plan was this - I had to get myself captured and taken to Yan's home. I was to break it from the inside out.
Of course I hated it. Miss Anca had been captured, and it had done nothing for her. According to our turncoat Tyrannians, she was getting weaker by the day. Apparently, it wouldn't be too long before she broke.
Aiden, one of our Tyrannians, and Porcelain, my closest friend, caught up with me as I reached the surface. "'Dise, stop," Porcelain commanded. I did, and turned slowly. I must have looked quite menacing, because both Aiden and Porcelain stepped back.
"Don't tell me to stop when I'm about to embark on a suicide mission. Don't you dare," I growled.
Aiden sighed, and reached forward to take my hand. Ever since he'd joined the rebels, he and I had been a couple. We'd fallen in love very quickly and we'd stayed together through the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
But now, I jerked my hand away. "Don't touch me! You won't be able to protect me! I know you won't. You're a Tyrannian, one of them. If Yan tells you to kill me, you're going to have to or risk revealing yourself."
I turned away, hating for anyone to see me cry, and Porcelain wrapped her arms around me. "Baby, I know you're scared for the first time since he took over. You're right to be, if you weren't, I'd be wondering if you were human."
I let out a watery laugh. "I know you hate this, I know you hate him," she carried on. "But just think, you're doing what we set out to do! You'll be bringing Yan down, and Aiden and Wharf will be there, bringing us reports of you. You'll be OK."
My head snapped up at the mention of the two Tyrannians, the latter the one that nobody in the rebel camp trusted. "Wharf won't," I said, thinking hard.
"Why not?" Aiden said warily.
"Well, he hates me, for one. I'm sure he'd rather kill me than protect me," I replied, wiping my eyes and turning to face him.
"Well, that aside, I'll be there," he said, relaxing.
I nodded. "But if he asks you to kill me, you have to."
"I won't," he replied, reaching for my hand again. "I have a plan for that."
I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath. "I'm ready. Porce, bring everyone to sector four point nine. And no matter what," I said, getting my hand back from Aiden and pulling her into a hug. "You need to keep everything running down here. You need to lead everyone into victory. 'Den, stick to the plan. You have to take me in."
"'Dise," Porcelain whispered. "You're coming back."
She sounded more like she was trying to convince herself rather than me, and I grinned to appease her. "I know. Heck, without me, this all goes to hell, but just in case, I'm saying goodbye now. Get everyone. I'm going in style."
She nodded softly and took off, and I turned to Aiden. "Walk with me?"
On the surface, Aiden and I walked through the 'Burbs, the more affluent area of England. Sector four point nine is what used to be Medway, before Yan-Land.
Yes, I know, the birthplace of the chav as the only affluent area left in England? Yan is full of surprises. And conveniently, it's where one of the three entrances to our tunnels are.
Aiden was quiet, so I poked him gently. "You OK?" I asked.
"No," he whispered, pulling me into a hug. "I'm not too sure about this at all. I don't want you to do it."
"It's the only way, 'Den," I said as Doc, Dodge, Blake and Porcelain turned up, with Wharf following not too long after, trying to see what was going on. The Doc was almost never seen out of the tunnels, so something had to be going on. "And I'm ready. It's time to start the show."
I took off running to a small club, where I could hear loud music playing. Bursting in, I drew one of my guns, Ebony, and fired a few warning shots into the air. The place fell silent quicker than I could imagine, and I jumped onto a podium, clearing everyone else off it. "Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. I have no interest in disrupting your night, but this is important."
A few Tyrannians, including Wharf and Aiden, paced the floor below me, and I matched their movements. "My name... I hope you know me. I'm notorious. I'm Titan Paradise. Yan has been looking for me for years. I'm the leader of the rebellion."
At that, a few people looked around at each other, and one brave soul called out, "I thought the rebellion was a myth!"
I laughed, almost manically. In the crowd below me, I saw Porcelain start a little. She'd not heard me like that for years. "No, no, we're quite real, though Yan would have you believe otherwise. But I'm not here revealing myself tonight to tell you about the rebellion, aside from that we are waiting and we are coming for Yan.
"No, I'm here tonight for a very different reason. I'm here to name and shame a traitor in the Tyrannians. Wharf Xum has been training with the rebellion for three years. He's been swearing he's loyal to us and that he's just working for Yan because it's better to be at the right hand of the devil than in his path. Well, guess what, Wharf? For tonight, I am the devil."
He drew his SideWinder laser gun and pointed it at me. I fired before he could pull his trigger and people screamed. I called over the screaming, "And he was the path. Ladies and gentlemen, I beg forgiveness for the interruption and the bloodshed. Enjoy your night and remember, the rebellion is waiting. We will get England back. And she shall have her revenge."
I jumped off the podium, and Aiden attacked me. "I'm not going to hurt you, Aiden, old friend. Get off me."
He snapped cuffs on his wrists, looking harder than I'd ever seen him, He played his part well. I could see why he was captain of the Tyrannians. "Mac, Bean, clean up. The rest of you, help me escort her to the prison. Let Yan decide tomorrow what to do with her," he said, pulling me to my feet.
I struggled against him, playing my part. "Let go of me! I can't be taken yet; we're almost there! I only came to kill a traitor, you should be thanking me!"
"It wasn't your decision to make," another Tyrannian said.
"No talking to the prisoner," Aiden snapped. "And you, shut up. Anything you say can and will be used against you."
"Yeah, whatever," I scoffed. "You know, that went out when Yan took over."
"If you will not be quiet, we will make you," Aiden warned, dragging me onwards.
"Oh, you and what army? I will not go quietly!"
The last thing I remember before waking up in a cold, dark, damp cell was Aiden's face behind the butt of his Sidewinder, looking apologetic.