[The Blind Avatar]
The clock stroke 0237 AM.
Spells of rain bathe the city Arthenis. The moon light shining past the dull grey skies set a bleak ambiance with selections of fluorescent midnight blue on the city, and high tides heavily weighed on its ship yard ports. A gentle wind sweeping the wet earth blew the mild fog, which browsed through the empty alleys. Window panes on the buildings were soaked in sheets of cascading water; not a soul was in sight at the feet of the multistory buildings, but atop a few took the moment to witness the refined beauty of the night.
A car with blinking red beams cut through the fog, accompanying it were sirens of an ambulance vehicle, it navigated to the local children's hospital, and dispatched a woman in labor. As the clock stroke 0416, there was an audible cry, a cry of a newborn child.
The clock’s hands turned fourteen years ahead, on the morning of October 23rd, 2779. Dew softly dissipated from the grass, the skies were fair and the young sun painted the city in a golden shade. Groups of locals gathered to take a short trip across the locale. They and the vehicles were directed to a checkpoint by several police officers, the structure was planted on the sidewalks. Half of it suspended above the road, and the other formed a doorway on the sidewalk.
The sky was lined by plentiful bland multistory buildings, nearby was the Earth memorial clock tower. It used old Earth mechanical gears, and over looked much of the city. At its foot, several law enforcement cars were parked, and members of several special weapons and tactics units secured several defensive positions. Their captain, Alice Keyes stepped out from the last vehicle. Adorned in the latest body armor, its smooth black outer shell reflected sun light evenly on every contour, which distinguished her figure accurately from the background. She issued instructions to the police officers and some of her units.
Her dauntless acts had earned her a firm reputation through out the area. She had faded blue eyes and medium length casual black hair, they were quite a sight. She was raised in the lawless outskirts of the region, and therefore she grew with the notion of bringing order by taking matters into her own hands. She has also been recognized for using debatable, but practical tactics to overcome applicable cases.
“Morning ma’am,” her second in command, Samuel Brooke greeted. He sat in the back of an armored van. He was pairing an array of weapons with their corresponding ammunition. She turned around and replied,
“Hey, you don’t have to call me ma’am you know.”
“What’s this? I thought she wanted more respect.” He spoke in a jocular tone.
“That was ancient history, stop living in the past.”
“That was last weekend.” Sam focused on reconfiguring the settings on the mid range weaponry.
“Well, that’s what they want you to think.” Her tone was comical, and somewhat serious.
He reached for a long rectangular box and produced a sniper rifle. The barrel was longer than the ones he had been working on. He had brown eyes, short black hair and sported a small silver ornament grafted along his left ear lobe. He was well known for his marksmanship in both social and martial theaters, and has demonstrated tactical abilities closely resembling those of Alice to the public and government eye. He was fully clad in similar body armor she had, but unlike hers that enhanced only strength, his was designed to aid the client with motion stability.
“How do I know you aren’t with them?” He laughed.
“But anyway, let’s get to work.” She said as she walked to the clock tower. He armed him self with a standard issued sub-machine gun and the rifle, and then followed.
“It’s so nice out I can just see my self sleeping in.” He tossed in her direction a small telescope.
“Yeah, I can’t wait to get home and do some serious gaming tonight.” Sam replied.
“There’s no way you’re twenty-four years old.” Alice caught the telescope in mid-air just as he gave a light punch to the shoulder.
“Still older than you” he laughed.
“One year, just one year and three days…” She sighed. They walked across the hectic road for the tower. It included a large disk held in the air by two elaborately designed structures, which were inclined to an acute angle. The slender hands of the clock were projected just beyond the opaque, backlit map of earth, and the rest of the construct used some adaptive camouflage, which gave it a crystalline appearance; a park was housed just below the complex.
Alice brought the telescope to her attention and began adjusting it, Samuel headed for a security door at the structure's base. He entered a sequence of numbers and letters on a keypad printed next to a security door. Shortly it slid open and they both stepped inside. The doors closed, and the car began to accelerate up the slanted structure, windows along the tower poured in some sunlight and permitted glimpses of the foundation falling away.
Alice leant on one of the elevator’s faces. She crouched and drew her two custom pistols from the hip pouches. They had a smooth black surface with noticeable sharply cut edges and wider barrels.
“So, is he doing anything this weekend?” She reached in her left pocket, and then brought out two ammunition clips. Each held six small shotgun shells.
“Yeah, I’m going to be outta town for a while. I’ll be getting additional training to even my chances of getting my own team soon.” He said. She reached for her right pocket, brought out and loaded two battery clips inside the second gun; she brushed her hair backward with one and placed the weapons back in their pouches.
“I see how it is…” she playfully stated.
“No-no, he’ll still think she’s cool.” He replied humorously.
“He’ll just forget me and when he’s promoted he’ll think she’s just a little punk.” She said in her comical and somewhat serious tone.
“No! He won’t forget her and she’ll always be cool.” He said with haste and amusement.
They both laughed like good friends. The elevator began to slow down and stopped on an observation deck. They viewed the building top-littered landscape, several sniper teams were sparsely garrisoned through them.
Samuel left the elevator; he set up his sniper rifle on the bottom frame of a service window. A small echo spread in the structure as the bipeds on the gun magnetically clenched the metallic frame. She moved the hair covering her right ear, there was a hidden headset behind it. She slid down the small microphone boom to her lips and announced through it: “All groups report status, over.” successions of four male and three female voices confirmed a code green. “Excellent, ladies and gentlemen, let’s go to war.” she said, her tone aroused courage and loyalty in her team. He set his weapon’s sight a distance away; she peered through the scope in the same direction.
Below the clock tower, the last group of people had passed through the checkpoint. They traveled a winding road that bent northwest away from the tower. A few kilometers ahead laid the mansion of Eric Reigns. They arrived before a large opened gate. Past the spectacular front lawn, there was a layer of well-managed grass along with choices of exotic plants, and a large fountain in the center. The masonry was the work of the best artisans in the country. A stand was placed on a platform behind it.
Shortly the large wooden doors heftily opened, four guards came through it, and then a man in professional attire followed. His striking figure quickly caught their attention while he walked to the stand; he carried his signature oaken staff in the right hand.
“Thank you all for coming,” he spoke into a microphone, “as you all know, we are here to praise the heir of the Reigns heritage. Long since our forefather, our bloodline has been committed to serve and represent the common man, woman and child in our expanding government.” His voice spread from side to side of the stage through loud speakers, and captivated the majority.
“Recently, our government has issued some changes to our daily lives: taxes for land-owners have increased 7%, they have transacted 3% from the Social Services program, and have halted the financial aid for building a replica of our beloved clock tower in the Exur nation.” People lowly hummed to one another resentment for the Government.
“As ever,” he continued, “My associates and I are working to project these changes as delicately as possible to the people. They began to cheer, “In addition, the conflict between the two religious administrations has finally been resolved.” He said during their appraisal.
“Addressing the raised tax for land-owners issue, to offset its effects, we have already invested in several thousand acres of land, and are distributing it at half the price on fixed payments. They applauded him once again.
He smiled and waved to the crowd “Thank you, thank you for coming and please have a wonderful day here.” He turned to the mansion and entered, those who chose followed in and assisted themselves to the rare delicacies provided, and those who stayed behind were directed to the rear of the mansion where a fair was sited.
A gentle breeze tenderly blew on the verdant scenery as the late evening sun sunk over the horizon; it dyed the clouds in its last feeble rays of light. The weather was calm and peaceful, and the event had lost much of its vitality, most had already left, the remaining few decided to call it a day and walked to the closed front gate. Roars of powerful engines mounted below their chatter, and drowned it out shortly. Their attention was drawn in front of them, as two vans sped up and crashed through the gates, throwing the now useless hunks of metal into the air, and shattering the fountain. The vehicles plowed through the lawn, they left a wake of vegetation and dirt behind them. Shady figures rolled from the rear of the vans, they were well armed and wore dark grey trench coats. They brandished automatic rifles and fired in the air, civilians promptly clung to the ground.
The vans stopped next to the closed main doors, another man stepped from the last one and walked to the closed door, in his left hand was a briefcase. He crouched himself and opened it to reveal a computer system. He entered several key strokes. Shortly, he produced a pair of explosives and set them near the door.
His two peers corralled the hostages beside the ruble where the fountain once stood. One of them was cold, expressionless and he kept a vigilant eye over them.
“If you know what’s good for you,” he said, “then listen carefully.” He towered over them.
“We have one client, and do not wish inane bloodshed. However, we will do what is necessary to ensure our business runs smoothly.” He grimly asserted. He appeared well trained and disciplined, unlike his partner.
His peer paced back and forth around the hostages; before long he had begun spitefully taunting a man with a strong physique. His peers merely ignored his antics.
“Pitiful,” he said stepping on his victim’s hand. “You’re nothing but puppets to the ruling hand.” His victim merely stayed silent with his head down.
“Do you know who runs this country?” he grinned. “Incompetent politicians led by corporate scum bags.”
“Look at me when I’m talking!” He sent the toe of his boot into the face of his victim. The man grunted and backed up, he held his nose. Blood leaked between his fingers.
“Go lick your wounds, like the gutless dog you are.” He viciously said as he spat on him.
Turning around, he announced to the hostages, “Dogs like you should be left to rot in your own ignorance.”
In the short window of opportunity, the man shot up and threw a kick to the cautious man’s back before he could turn. He was instantly thrown off and spun through the dirt up to several meters away. Simultaneously, the brave civilian swept his heavy leg on the greenery with expertise, which brought the incompetent’s back crashing to the ground. Both were disarmed in the process, and he wasted little time. Just as the ineffectual one attempted to rise, the gentleman ran him down and locked his forearm across the opponent’s neck, and his other hand gripped the head.
“Here’s how this works. You boys pack up, and let my folks go home, and your pal here gets to see the sunrise again”
“Idiot,” the other said. He stood up and produced a handgun. Then aiming it directly at the gentleman, but before he could fire it, the turbulent situation came to a grinding halt. Sharp, stinging noises shrieked in the air from a distance, and then sped over the theater. One of the intruders at the door jerked forward. He dropped as if his body had been devitalized, and it was. An awkward, languid seepage pooled up around him. The substance discharged from a fault somewhere on the head. Bluish streaks of light glowed in the air and outlined a path to the victims, just before they dissipated. The three guests laid still, permanently still.
Law enforcement vehicles and a helicopter reached the scene, a feminine figure leapt from the helicopter, then charged through the lawn and flight of stairs with exceptional speed. She leapt from atop the stairs and hit the door violently with her body. A powerful tremor shook the earth, its echo thundered across the terrain. The door blew off the house and flew in the air, the shattered elaborate wooden sleeves rained chunks of splinters in its trail. She landed gracefully before the disfigured door frame, which seemed dilapidated beyond repair. The door had lodged into the grand stair case.
Wasting little time, her slick hands caught and fashioned two arms, one lit up across the top, and the other released a mechanical whine. She motioned commands to several operatives. They poured in and spread through the immediate locale. Sam, wielding a sub-machine gun followed Alice. They scoured the building and area for other threats.
Following their fruitless search, they navigated the maze of stairs and hallways to another large door.
“Sir, we’ve got the perimeter secured.” She informed, sheathing her left hand weapon, and then introducing her palm on a panel.
“Call for evacuation, immediately.” Eric’s voice commanded.
The door hissed open, tens of people quietly withdrew from the shelter, among them an adolescent boy went in the other direction. He crouched then leant against the wall next to Sam. He stared at the carpet, his black hair hung in front of his eyes, it hid his face from the fluorescent lighting which washed the corridor brightly, almost foreboding. He wore blue jeans and a black shirt, and on his left hand he wore a thick bracelet, it was marked in foreign tongue.
So,” she boldly tried to shatter the silence, “that was some pretty sharp ‘n’ quick trigger-finger there.”
“Yeah, from several kilometers away, I guess I was good.” Sam grinned.
“Hey mister,” the indifferent, aloof voice of the boy inquired. “Can I see that?” His glance motioned at the sniper rifle slung over Sam’s back.
“Sure,” he nodded. He traced his finger along the butt of the gun, it clicked into safety. “Know much about guns?” presented himself to the boy’s level.
“A little bit,” he said, “but I’ve always wanted to know more.” He took a glance at the weapon held in Samuel’s hands.
“This one uses pneumatic percussion, and takes a magazine carrying twelve armor-piercing tracer rounds.” He added.
“Sounds cool” the boy commented.
“Yep, a sniper rifle with those specs is pretty mean, but what makes this one better than…” he paused to look up at Alice.
“Those toys,” The boy let out a small laugh, and she smiled. “Is that it uses magnetic-coil technology to accelerate the round to near-hypersonic speeds.”
“Awesome” he nodded enthusiastically, pushing his hair aside. His green eyes lit up in excitement. “Can I hold it?”
“Keep that thing away from my son.” before he could hand it over, a woman interrupted him.
His head shot up, he caught the green, exuberant eyes of a woman standing beside Eric. Her flaxen hair draped along her shoulders.
“Yes ma’am” he stood up and slung the weapon over his back, the boy went toward his parents.
“Sir, evac has just arrived.” she informed Eric.
“Then let’s be on our way.” He replied.
They led the three outside, an airplane sat in front of the debris from the fountain. They entered it, and it began climbing to the heavens. Soon, the evening began dying into night. Dark, blue clouds ran to the plane’s rear as it skimmed through them. The woman exchanged stern glares with the others. She wore a black dress, a dark blue shirt, and another black long-sleeved shirt over it.
“Excuse me,” she glanced specifically at Alice. “But what are your names?”
“I’m Alice Keyes,” she smiled at her.
“And I’m Samuel Brooke.” He added.
“Well, my name is Anne Reigns, and this is my son Cyrill, nice to meet you two.”
“Thank you.” They replied in unison.
“Oh, it’s us who have to thank you two for helping us.” She said. Her serious tone had grown somewhat softer.
“It was an honor.” Samuel added. She smiled in his direction.
They traveled for much of the night, when the clock sank 0113, they began landing. Shortly, they stepped out from the plane. The cool winter winds blew hard on them. They could scarcely make out the shapes of the buildings around them, but they knew they were on a large courtyard. Several soldiers came and escorted the Reigns family into the building, Samuel and Alice returned to the plane and took off.