When they arrived at their destination, the place was a mess. It was one of the few normal buildings remaining within the Mendelian's territory and consequently it was unmaintained and tumbling down. It had once been some kind of warehouse and the corrugated metal walls were rusting away. Ursula parked the truck in the warehouse's parking area then got out.
“So here we are.”
Gabriella yawned and rubbed her eyes. “Where?”
“The warehouse, Our base of operations for the next twenty-four hours.”
Ursula walked back to the rear of the truck and slid open the door. The Chairs piled out and filled the courtyard.
“Okay, let's get setup and then you can work your magic.”
The next few hours were spent bundling everything into the warehouse. Chairs were plentiful and so Gabriella sat down on one and prepared yourself. Ursula walked over and held her hand.
“Whenever you're ready babe.”
Gabriella smiled and let herself bleed out into the Aether, letting her mind expand, her Sight growing and spread towards the tower in a flurry of colourful emotions and dark, terrible stains of atrocities past. She felt others moving around and nearly every one was a demon. It was worse than they had even imagined. Without Triad to hold back the tide and given the sheer amount of ATs in use, the demons had possessed every one. The whole of New York was possessed. Fearfully she pushed on through towards the tower, hoping none of them would see her like the had back at the University. As her eyes reached the tower, she saw the place painted red in eagerness and anticipation. It was lit up like a Christmas tree with the firey souls of demons crawling all over the place. Still, she pushed on.
This was the most dangerous part. She needed to probe the connections of each thing in the tower, there were thousands, each with it's own unique signature and she needed to see them all but not rouse the wrath of anything that might be on the other end of a connection. Hours passed and she had barely touched the surface when she touched upon something dark and ancient and it looked back.
Michael? Naughty, naughty we had a deal and here I find you looking at me through the Aether. Be seeing you soon.
Gabriella withdrew in fright with a snap and gasped as she came out of her trance.
“Gab! What happened, what is it? Did you find the bomb?”
Gabriella was hyper-ventilating, panicked and scared. She'd never seen any demon like it before. But it had seen her and for some reason it had called her Michael... We had a deal... What did that mean? Had Michael been dealing with demons? Perhaps Ursula had been right to act as she had, but somehow she didn't believe it. Why had it thought she was Michael, it didn't make any sense.
“Gab! Gab!” Ursula yelled, grabbing hold of her.
Gabriella calmed down enough to respond. “I was seen by something terrible. T saw me and it's coming for us!”
“Crap.” Ursula said. “Then we better make our move now. Did you find the bomb?”
“No, but I did find something else out. The demon that saw me, it thought I was Michael.”
“Michael? Why would it think that?”
“I don't know, but it said something about a deal. It was talking as if it had made some kind of deal with him.”
Ursula's face hardened. “No, he can't have done.”
“I don't believe it either, but why would he say that? Why would he think I was him?”
“I don't know. But we don't have time to find out. We should leave. Now.”
Gabriella nodded reluctantly, but she didn't want to be here whenever that thing showed up. Then again, if they were leaving now there was only one place they could go to complete their mission and that was the tower.
It had been barely a few hours but they readied themselves to leave once again. Chair and family got into the back of the truck and Gabriella and Ursula climbed back into the cabin.
“We're going to have to do this the hard way. I'm thinking we ram our way right into the building with the truck, Chair and co can keep the others distracted while you work your magic from the inside. Once you get the connection we fight our way out and detonate it it as soon as possible.”
“That doesn't sound like much of a plan Ursula. I'm scared.”
“It's all we've got, we're running out of time. We need to act now. We've got each other and I promised you we'd get through this.”
“Okay. Well, let's do this.”
Ursula turned the key and the truck roared into life. She steered it out of the courtyard and put her foot fully down on the pedal, accelerating the truck down the road towards the tower. Gabriella watched the scenery speed past in a blur and made sure her seatbelt was secure. Ursula likewise secured herself and tried to push even more speed out of the truck. The tower began looming up with alarming speed.
“Get ready to brace yourself.”
They held hands as the truck crashed into the side of the tower, crushing several Possessed at the entrance as it ploughed through the doorway and into the foyer where the lift to the upper levels was situated. The windscreen caved in around them as the cabin imploded from the impact and blood spattered Gabriella's face as a demon was crushed by the front of the truck slamming it against the opposite wall.
Ursula got out and pulled Gabriella after her. “Stay close.”
Ursula punched a man in the face with full force, her hand crushing his face and nearly passing through the other side. As he collapsed in a heap she grabbed his weapon, some kind of sub-machine gun and emptied it in to the surrounding Possessed that were still recovering from the truck. The truck was emitting a series of thuds as Chair and it's clones hammered the walls from the inside, trying to escape but the doors were jammed. The smell of petrol burning began to fill Ursula and Gabriella's nostrils and so they hurried to try and wedge open the door to the back of the truck with whatever they could muster. If Chair and it's clones all died in an explosion the entire plan was lost.
Ursula managed to get a large piece of metal door frame and slip it beneath the warped door of the truck and heaved, forcing it open just in time for hundreds of Chairs to pile out and hurl themselves at the fresh wave of demons that were flowing in around the flames from outside. Ursula picked up another couple of discarded weapons and handed one to Gabriella.
“Come on, we need to head up. Chair, some of you come with us.”
The Chairs split up, some of them heading towards Ursula and the others circling around to keep the Possessed at bay. The lift came down and the Chairs bundled in, pummelling the inhabitants into putty and Gabriella and Ursula stepped in afterwards. Gabriella tried not to throw up from the smell and sheer horrifying brutality of at all but as the doors closed and the lift slide smoothly upwards she lost it.
“I know this is horrible, but bigger things are at stake.” Ursula said, trying to comfort her half-heartedly.
Gabriella just nodded and forced herself to smile. While in the relative safety of the lift she tried to sense the bomb again. She let her mind spread out around her, let the structure of the place get painted beyond the range of normal vision in various emotions. She sensed the bomb, felt the furious potential of it all pent up behind the shell of it. She could see it's connection hanging in the darkness of the place and then just as suddenly as she had found it winked out of existence, the face of the terrible being she had seen before replacing it.
I know what you're looking for Michael. If you want it you'll have to come here. I'll be waiting.
Gabriella came back out of the trance and turned to Ursula. “We can't do this, we have to go back!”
“What? What happened?”
“I saw it again, the thing, the demon. It's waiting for us at the bomb.”
“Then we just blow it up, end of story.”
“We can't, it's disabled it's AT somehow. We're going to have to fight it if we want to detonate it. We're going to have to do it manually. We can't beat that thing though, it's powerful and ancient, we're no match for it.”
Ursula grabbed Gabriella by the shoulders and looked at her. “We don't have any choice. It's too late to turn back now. We have to keep going forward.”
“Okay, I can go by myself, me and the Chairs. Can you tell us where it is?”
“No, no I'm not letting you go alone!”
“Then we're both going forwards. Together.”
Gabriella wiped tears from her eyes. “Okay.”
The lift doors opened and surprisingly the halls were empty. Ursula and the Chairs looked around, checking for signs of life but they found nothing.
“Gab, which way now?”
Gabriella pointed in the direction she remembered the bomb was at. “That way.”
They moved down the corridor and Gabriella threw up again at what she saw. The corridor was a tunnel of gore. Bodies littered the floors, some were even embedded into the walls from the force of being slammed into them. Guts and blood squelched under foot. It was a massacre. Ursula walked slowly among the human wreckage, her hand pressed against her mouth.
“Jesus, this is the DETF. Over there, that's Gerald and that's Matt. They killed them. They killed them all.”
“Correction,” came a voice from around the corner as the man stepped into view. “I killed them. And I killed the other demons too. I don't want any interruptions. So tell me, where is Michael?”
Gabriella looked at the man in horror and backed away slowly.
“You. Interesting. You're not Michael and yet, you have the smell of him. What game is this? No matter. We had a deal he and I and I intend to make sure he keeps it. Goodbye whoever you are.”
Ursula leapt into action but she was too late, the man moved like lightening, dodging past her and Chair towards Gabriella. As he was about to reach her Gabriella felt a pain in her stomach, a warm glowing feeling emanating from her womb and the man stopped in his tracks.
“What!? What is this? Michael, you can't do this, we had a deal! WE HAD A DEAL!”
Suddenly the man slumped, falling unconscious into the pile of bodies littering the ground. Ursula wasn't taking any chances and emptied a clip into the back of his unconscious head.
“What the hell just happened?”
Gabriella stood there dumbfounded. “I... I don't know. Something inside me just, I don't know, just spread out and the next moment the man was down on the ground.”
“The bomb, where is it?”
Gabriella could sense it already. “Here, hold my hand, sense the connection it's open now.”
Ursula grabbed hold of her and closed her eyes. She felt the connection to the bomb's AT and connected. Immediately she was confronted with the aggressive military functions of it's hardware. She tore it apart as easily as wet tissue paper with her AI mind and set the detonator to go off in thirty minutes.
“Okay. We're done here. Lets... oh my god...”
Gabriella looked at Ursula and then followed were her eyes were staring. The door to Triad's chamber was open and inside Michael's body lay on the ground on a pool of blood, his head lay several meters away.