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Episode 38: Shock and Awe
Iris and Nemean engage in taking out the Hellions, while Alexis goes wonky and as far as Belle Argent is concerned, the thick plottens.
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Episode 37: Man to Man
It's the day before Aeolus' 20th birthday. T'aechong thinks it's time for him to be a man. Aeolus think it's time for him to 'fess up. Meanwhile, Iris and Nemean begin cracking skulls.
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Episode 36: The Kindly Ones
The triplets split up to accomplish three goals at once. Their targets? Chiron and Jimenez.
Episode 35: Mental Meanderings
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Aeolus and Robert discuss Yi T'aechong behind his back (literally) while Alexis engages in some mental exercise.
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It's back, baby.
Out of interest for my mental health... no update again today, I'm sorry. I think I'll be able to use the downtime with my extended family, honestly. I'll be fresh and not providing crappy updates (hopefully revised versions of those last few updates, too) upon my return.
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Maintaining one of these things is hard, and I really do hate doing this, but it is infinitely more difficult to do when your entire life cannot rotate around it, as much as you want it to.
Also, after the week of the 14th, expect AA to shift to a '2 a week' (probably Thursday/Sunday) schedule, with additional updates posted if I have the free time. The goal will still be four episodes a week, but I realize that I cannot maintain that and go to school and hold a job.
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Episode 31: Stigmata
Robert questions T'aechong's way of doing things...
Hello all; very sorry, but there will be no update today. Update should come tomorrow. Things were just impossible to do today.
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Also, bad news, but I'll be gone from Wednesday the 11th to Sunday the 14th. Believe me, not something I'm going to enjoy, either.
Whoohoo. Family time with relatives who hate my existence. That's fun. I'll try to make up for it a bit before and a bit after I go.
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Click picture to make it bigger. Taken just now.
Agent Aeolus: Episode 30
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I'll do it properly later AH SO TIME CRUNCH *dies*
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Agent Echo, courtesy of Ann!
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Already 203 on a BRAND NEW LIST. Thank you all so much!
"You know, 'Lex, you look pretty ridiculous hanging there." Luke rolled into the sterling white hospital room, halting his wheelchair next to Alexis' bed. The hero was indeed hanging - his left leg and both arms were suspended in the air, wrapped in soft but firm bandages. The few spots where his flesh was visible, he was covered in bruises and cuts. Alexis forced his head up and glared at Luke from over his chest.
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"Not very funny, guy." Then his head flopped back down onto the pillow. He was tired.
"So you are up, old boy. They told me that they weren't sure when you'd get back awake. You've been out like a light for the whole week. Cheering to see you conscious again."
Alexis' head shot up again. "What? Week? I've been out for a week?!"
Luke nodded. Alexis shook his head and laid it back down again. "Man... that guy really did a number on me."
"So I've heard..." Luke pulled out a small, charred white cloth and tossed it onto Alexis' chest. Alexis looked at him quizzically.
"My dear boy, that's about all that remains and is feasibly reusable in the Mark IV. That's two $10 million dollar suits you've utterly destroyed in the service of mankind."
"Oh." Alexis was quiet. Luke grinned roguishly in return, however.
"Just means that we'll have to make a special version of the Mark IX for you. My boy, you'll love the new modifications we've planned for it - I've gleaned information from some of the higher ups and you know that magic sealing material-"
"Luke..." Alexis broke in quietly. Luke didn't hear.
"-for well it turns out that it has amazing properties that can be used besides the most obvious one and given what I've found out from the government about your foe well I figured this would be the best and those taser sticks are getting redone-"
"Luke..." Alexis raised his voice, but the aristocrat still did not notice and kept babbling.
"-and you'll love this it's totally Helena-proof should be fixed up by the time that you get-"
"Luke!" Alexis screamed at the top of his lungs. Luke shot up in his wheelchair, startled and sheepish. "What, what is it?"
"I don't care about the Mark IX. Not yet, anyway. Until I get out of these casts, it's going to be useless to me. I do care about the following things: Where the hell am I, and where the hell is everyone else?"
"Understandable, mate." Luke mused and stroked his chin fuzz. "Well... you are in a secret government facility around Roanoke. Clearance level is Azoth, meaning that getting in here is hell. Your family did manage a visit earlier in the week with my help, but you were unconscious. I have a much easier time of it, since I already have a fairly high level clearance for SkylarTech... but it still takes me eight hours to plan a trip to here."
Alexis whistled. "Well... that answers a lot of my questions. What I'd really like to know now is... what the hell happened after I got knocked out?"
"Can't say, 'Lex, I'm not privy to that information..." Then Luke realized Alexis was not looking at him, but behind him. "Wait, what are you gandering at?" He rotated his wheelchair around. Nemean was standing in the doorway, her right arm in a cast, her left arm holding a heavy briefcase. Her face was expression-less - the type of expression-less that means "I'm about to snap and kill lots of people if one more thing goes wrong."
"How long have you been there, Colonel?" Alexis stared at her arm. What the hell could do that?
"Not long, Mr. Decker. Mr. Skylar." She nodded at Luke. Luke turned to Alexis, who nodded and smiled reassuringly.
"Alright then, old boy." Luke backed up his chair and wheeled out of the room, stopping to pause as he passed Nemean. "I'll be right outside the door, chap, so don't hesitate to call if you need any assistance with this, ah... onerously obtuse, odious, and overtly obese – ah – ofay."
Alexis stifled a giggle. Nemean looked at the two of them oddly. "Inside joke."
"Right." She closed the door behind herself - it slammed shut with a bang. The two stared at each other for a few seconds.
"So what the hell did that to your arm?" Alexis pointed. Nemean growled and sat down. "Star Wars."
"Huh?" Alexis raised an eyebrow.
"Star Wars. The Satellite Defense System. Some fucker hijacked the array and fired on us."
"...What the hell." Alexis stared at her arm again. "Then how the hell are you..."
"Alive? I'm practically impervious to low frequencies of the EM spectrum, and to prevent fall-out, the lasers operate in the infrared. The fractured arm is from a combination of the laser and then the fall I took into the sudden 25 yard-deep pit it made." She grimaced.
Alexis let out a low whistle. "Getting fired at by a space laser array. Damn. Your day sucked more than mine."
"What did happen? We surmised there was a large simultaneous set of explosions of some kind, but that's all we know. ...Hermes can't exactly tell us." She clenched her teeth.
"Hermes? What hap-"
"Dead. Neck was snapped. He narrowly evaded the laser just to get his neck snapped."
"...Oh." Alexis' eyes widened, then narrowed. He said a prayer underneath his breath for Hermes' soul.
"So tell me what I need to know, Decker. Who did this? What fucker did this?!" Nemean screamed and slammed her fist into the wall, denting it. Based on the scrambled and scattered reports from headquarters, she already knew the answer, but she wanted absolute confirmation.
"He didn't exactly tell me his name. But he was... he was wearing a trenchcoat of some kind... and some sort of black armor underneath, I hadn't seen it before-"
"Was it rough and lumpy?"
"I... think so. Not sure. Looked like he was black, too. Very fair-skinned, though. Not too tall, maybe shorter than me. And he had telekinesis, I think."
"Not telekinesis. Aerokinesis." Nemean stood up.
"Sounds like you know who we're dealing with."
"Yes, yes I do. You never interacted with him much, your egos were both too big for Aquila to think you could work together well. But he's a rogue agent of ours, his name's Aeolus."
Alexis snorted. "Well, that's no surprise. Not like you guys could ever keep your act together. First Helena, now him. You guys practically leak potential threats to the safety of the world."
Nemean turned and shot a dark glare at Alexis. "At least, Decker, we have not needed to put our own family and friends who have never been trained to fight up on the chopping block just to save ourselves. We've never had to ask a civilian to come in and take a bullet for us because we're too brash and stupid and self-concerned with our egos to admit that we need help. An entire organization. You, on the other hand, as a sole entity have required payment for your services. Your fiancée's life and your best friend's legs. Tell me, out of the few that we've lost, how many others do you think we have protected? Do you know how many crises we averted since before you were a twinkle in your father's eye? You think a few hundred thousand dead across the nation is big? It is! But half the world hasn't been blown off and believe me that if it wasn't for us, it would have been, years ago."
Alexis said nothing, only glowering at her.
"But then, I suppose that's a distinction self-centered little dipshits wouldn't ever bother making." She began to head for the door, then she turned and faced Alexis.
"You should be healed properly in two weeks. The Qamean Solution that's been administered to you throughout the past week has accelerated your growth rate. In two weeks, I will see you again, and we are going hunting for our rogue agent."
Alexis said nothing.
"And for the record, Decker, you did well. Thank you." Then she stepped out the door.
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The .com site is down - the server is up, but I fucked up the domain forwarding due to being a complete dumbass. It should be back in a day or two hopefully, probably less
If you want to access it until then, http://www.filefarmer.com/AgentAeolus
Aeolus and Robert had wisely invested in a wardrobe change to help go incognito. It wasn't much of one for Aeolus in some respects - he was still sporting a trenchcoat, only this time a midnight blue. It was buttoned all the way up, and he wore rimless, dark rectangular sunglasses over his eyes. He'd even lightened his skin tone, using make-up on his face and neck - the only parts of his skin you could see. And his hair was now tied back in a ponytail. He didn't quite look as much mulatto now as he did indecipherably ethnic.
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Robert had finally gotten out of his BDUs and replaced them with a light pink dress shirt, dark gray vest, and matching gray dress pants with black Sunday shoes. Well. Shoe. The crutches and cast were back, the white cast bigger than ever, leaving a 'clunk' sound whenever it smacked the ground. His bright colors contrasted sharply with his companion's - especially the bright green emerald wedding ring he wore.
The duo strode through the glass double doors before them, stopping on the dark, thin carpet. They were greeted by a long linoleum slope, with lots of people milling about. Beyond that was a pair of escalators and an old-school concrete staircase. Wordlessly, they stepped onto the up-escalator and stood still on one step. They were in no rush, it seemed.
When they reached the next floor, they stepped off and looked straight ahead, across the bustling airport terminal. There was a small airport coffee shop. Nothing fancy, not even a Starbucks.
"There." Robert nodded towards it.
"There," he repeated.
The two slowly made their way over to the shop through the flood of people. After Robert had been buffeted around for a bit, Aeolus held out his gloved hands and pointed them forward, in the direction Robert was going. A small gust picked up and moved through the area, gently nudging everyone aside - not by much, but enough that Robert could get through with ease.
"If I hadn't, we'd be moving even slower than we are already." But Aeolus could not completely mask his smile. The past two days of quiet after so much stress had been appreciated, and Robert's company was appreciated. He wasn't that great, but he was all that Aeolus had at the moment, and the enemy of one's enemy is one's friend. Stress makes for weird bedfellows. Something like that, anyway.
They soon hit shore on the Java brown tile of the coffee shop. The two looked around for anyone out of place.
"See anyone suspicious, Rob?" Aeolus turned slightly towards Robert.
"Not in the least." Plenty of people were sitting here by their lonesome. Aeolus sighed.
"Maybe he's waiting for us. Let's sit a bit." Robert hobbled over to a chair at a table near the entrance. Aeolus carelessly flipped his hand and the chair pulled itself out for Robert to sit down. Aeolus remained standing.
"Hey, I'm thirsty, man. Want to get something to drink? Dr. Jacoby's treat."
Robert smirked. "Ah, the good doctor." Aeolus had been clever. After they'd showed back up at the doctor's and Robert had been treated, Aeolus had sneaked back in at night and used his powers to literally steal the whole safe. The next morning found them at the pawn shop, several thousand dollars richer and with Robert's ring back. Of course, Robert had no idea that Aeolus had taken the ring off of his hand to begin with, or that Aeolus' primary interest was the money and not Robert's sentiments - but that was to be expected. That was Aeolus' goal, after all.
"Sure." Robert thought for a moment. "I'll take the most damn expensive thing you've got, garçon."
"Alright then." Aeolus headed for the line.
As Aeolus stood in queue and waited, Robert played a quick game of chess with the salt and pepper shakers. Salt was winning, although pepper might have been able to stage a comeback if it could get to the other side of the table and turn into a bell pepper.
"Bored?" A Korean man in a tan suit and tie stood squarely behind Robert. Robert raised an eyebrow and turned around to look. Is that him...? He smiled an artificial smile, never letting it reach his eyes.
"Oh, just a bit. Tell me, have you spoken to your Father today?"
"Of course I have. He's always around - here and there, you know."
"You don't say. My Father is like that as well."
"Perhaps it is because we are both sons of Joshua, brothers." T'aechong smiled warmly and held out his hand. Robert held out his in return, and they shook.
"Sejong Daewang, sir. An honor to meet you in person." Robert was shaking just a little bit.
"Some call me such. But my name is T'aechong. Let there be no formalities or hidden names between brothers. You seem to have sacrificed much - if men were ever able to earn their way into heaven, then you would be well on your way." He looked at the giant cast on Robert's leg.
Robert nodded. T'aechong, however, had turned away and was looking at the line. "I see Agent Aeolus there. Where is Donner Sparks?"
"He would be a disturbance to keep here. He's in the car." They'd used some of the money to rent another van, this one much newer. With his strength back, Aeolus had been able to overcome his fears of Helena and force her into the kennel now, which made moving about with her much easier. At least for now. Robert shuddered to think how Helena would react when she got her power back. He still had no idea what Sejong - T'aechong - had in mind for controlling her.
"Understandable. A wise decision." T'aechong nodded. At that moment, Aeolus returned from the line holding a gallon pitcher of espresso in one hand, and a normal cup of milk in the other. Robert's eyes nearly popped out of his sockets.
"...There's gotta be enough caffeine in that one container to give Rip Van Winkle insomnia."
Aeolus set the pitcher on the table in front of Robert. "Well, Bob, you did say you wanted the most expensive thing. It turns out the most expensive thing happens to be intended for purchase for large groups. Me, I like to not gag on my refreshments, but I guess I'm particular. So who's this guy?"
"It's him," Robert nodded.
"Real specific there," Aeolus rolled his eyes and sipped his drink. T'aechong started to speak, but Aeolus shook his head. "I understood."
T'aechong held out his hand. "My name, is Yi T'aechong."
Aeolus ignored the hand, picked up Robert's caffeine well, and tossed it into the trash. Both Robert and T'aechong looked at Aeolus in alarm.
"Hey! I was going to drink that!"
"All of it?" Aeolus raised his eyebrows. "And the added weight of carrying it and the bathroom problems are more trouble than they're worth. C'mon. Let's go. We've got your boss, now I want to get back on the road ASAP. Time to find us a Prime Nexus. C'mon, Asia-Sparky, you'll explain on the way." Aeolus headed out into the crowd.
T'aechong and Robert exchanged glances.
"Well, sir, I'm told you did want an apathetic jerk."
"As you may know, the world - the universe - is criss-crossed with invisible lines of energy. These lines of energy are primarily insignificant, affecting us no more than a tiny LED light in the face of the sun would. They only matter for scholars of the arcane with little innate talent in the ways of magic, or for those worried about Feng Shui or something similar." T'aechong supported Robert along the way to the car.
Aeolus nodded. "Yeah, yeah, we know. Ley Lines. Where multiple ley lines intersect, there's a massing of power known as a Secondary Nexus. But the secondary nexii have little to do with the Prime Nexus. The Prime Nexus is the source of all magical energy to begin with."
"To the contrary, Aeolus, they have much to do with the Prime Nexus. You're right; they are a different phenomena than the Prime Nexus, but they are very important in locating it. You see, ley lines are not. They are ley line."
Aeolus stopped and turned to face T'aechong. "Singular?"
"Exactly. There is reason to believe that all of the world's ley lines are really just one unbroken line of power that can be followed by an intricate and complex algorithm. For the last ten years, Operation Joshua has been trying to map out this algorithm. We've gotten all the data we can from ley lines - they're too hard to map, too small and too numerous. The background noise is alarming. However, we think that if we can get a clear signal from a few secondary nexii..."
"...You can perfect the algorithm and follow it straight to the source itself." Aeolus stroked the fuzz on his chin. "That's pretty damn impressive, if I do say so."
They were nearing the car now - a new Dodge Caravan, painted flat white. "I'm glad you approve. As Donner Sparks has probably absorbed the energy of a secondary nexus, he might be able to remember its location - maybe not precisely, but close enough that our detection equipment can pin-point it. That will make it easier for us to find the next one. After maybe three or four nexii found..."
Aeolus didn't need to hear that sentence finished. "Nice. So what do you plan to do about 'Donner'?"
T'aechong just smiled. Aeolus and Robert exchanged looks. He clenched his left hand into a fist and then there was a horrible, howling shriek of pain from inside the van.
"What the hell?!" Robert.
"What the fuck?!" Aeolus.
"We put a CNSD in her, and the control unit is inside of me." T'aechong clenched his fist again and there was another scream from inside the van.
Robert raised an eyebrow. "A... what?"
Aeolus' eyes widened and then he found himself grinning quite broadly. He high-fived T'aechong, much to the Korean's surprise.
"Aeolus...?" Robert looked inquiringly.
"It's a Central Nervous System Dominator/Disruptor. Helena's not just a bitch, she's our bitch." Aeolus smiled smugly.
Aeolus fluttered his eyes open. He still felt like a sack of bricks had hit him - or at the very least, a very scary and dangerous arcanist - but he suddenly felt recharged. He had energy, if not that much health.
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Groaning and rubbing the back of his head, he glanced down at the limp form of Alexis beneath him. Somehow, someway, that nut was still breathing, if barely. Aeolus had to give him credit. The only other person he could think of that could have pulled off surviving and nearly winning in a situation like that would be Nemean...
As he got up, he noticed two strange things. One, he had a needle stuck in his arm. He promptly plucked that out and let it drop carelessly to the ground. The other thing was Robert, bloody as hell, lying nearby on the ground.
"So you finally got up... took you long enough..." He used his less bloody arm to prop himself up off the ground and grin at Aeolus. Aeolus looked confused. "Why the hell did you drag yourself out here-"
Robert pointed at the needle. "Echo... said something about... Lotus and electrolytes, told me that I needed to give you that."
A smile spread across Aeolus' face. "No wonder I feel better now. I feel like I just slept for a day or two. I'll have to do my Tony the Tiger impression for you later. We should get out of here though-"
"Stop right there, Agent Aeolus!" Hermes appeared on top of the nearby slope. His body was shaking, but his hands were steady and he had his laser pistol aimed straight at Aeolus' head.
Aeolus didn't move. Ablative armor was useless against a laser, not to mention the attack moved much faster than a bullet. He slowly opened his fists and raised his hands, but Hermes fired a warning shot over his head.
"Keep those hands closed and pointing away from me, Aeolus. Don't even think about pulling one of your oxygen tricks." Aeolus gritted his teeth and did as told. Hermes knew him too well.
The senior agent slowly started to move down the slope, his gun still trained on the rogue agent. Aeolus' mind raced faster and faster with every inch that Hermes moved forward. If Hermes saw Aeolus' hand so much as twitch in a suggestive manner, he might lose his hand or his head. What could he do-
Aeolus' thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a heavy diesel engine. Both Hermes and Aeolus quickly glanced in the same direction - a semi-truck. And in that instant of distraction, both ducked and rolled, realizing they had a fight on their hands. The tractor-trailer zoomed past them, zoomed past the wreckage, obscuring their view of the other for a split-second.
Before the truck had finished passing, Hermes made a gamble; teleporting blind was stupid, but giving Aeolus a chance to prepare for a fight was, too. He teleported to the other side of the road and quickly turned around, looking for Aeolus. Hermes never saw Aeolus - only felt the pain of Aeolus' elbow slamming into his back, accompanied with a sickening cracking sound.
Aeolus grimaced and walked back to the trailer. He held out his left hand towards Robert, gentle winds slowly picking up his limp body. His other hand was outstretched towards the trailer - first blowing the already weakened doors off, then reaching inside and grabbing Helena.
When both were in hand, winds swept downwards from Aeolus' hands and swirled around his feet, solidifying into a very light blue disk. It was time to fly. And he did so, leaving behind the cracked and cratered battleground, littered with bodies and pieces of bodies. And as he flew, cargo in tow, he felt the need to call out and let his voice echo among the mountains.
"I don't know what the hell you're on, Decker, but I'll gladly beat it the shit out of you."
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"Just have to see about that. En garde!" Aeolus and Alexis lunged towards each other once more, fists and feet flying. Aeolus threw an uppercut at Alexis' jaw, but Alexis jumped back, dropped to his feet, and swept Aeolus' feet out from under him. It was just what Aeolus was waiting for.
As Aeolus fell over, he moved into a handspring position and shot straight up into the air with jets of oxygen streaming from his hands, righting himself in mid-air. Eventually he picked up enough altitude that he stopped shooting air and instead formed a flight disc only a meter or two beneath his feet. He slammed down hard on the disc and was about to taunt Alexis, only to be greeted by three throwing knives in quick succession. One nicked his arm and bounced off the armor; another slashed open his coat, and a third lightly cut his cheek. Aeolus laughed and started firing rapid blasts of air at the ground.
"C'mon! I'm wearing bulletproof armor! Think a knife is going to get through this? Please."
"Zee Loudmouth, 'e 'as a point! I am, how you say, shame-ed!" Alexis adopted a fake French accent as he dodged one blast after another. "But he iz, how you say, more shame-ed, for 'is aim, she iz as straight as Tinky Winky!" Another blast dropped in front of Alexis, who backflipped out of the way, twisted, turned, and hurled another knife, then dropped to the ground and reached for something. Aeolus easily canceled it out with a simple gust of wind, but it proved no more than a distraction - he was greeted by both of Alexis' stun sticks striking his platform, electricity shooting through the solid oxygen and knocking him off his feet.
Aeolus landed headfirst just in time to see Alexis rushing at him. He quickly shot his hands down and air boosted over Alexis' head; he charged air into one hand and tried to elbow drop Alexis' neck with the other arm. Alexis easily twisted his neck around the elbow drop, but was knocked far back with the close-range air blast. He skidded to a halt and reached into his coat as Aeolus prepared to fire another blast.
"Owned, bitch." Another pulse of air skidded Alexis back a few more feet.
"I know your mom is, but what am I?" Alexis pulled out his last two throwing knives, one going straight for Aeolus' head, the other going straight up in a wide arc, trying to nail Aeolus with a gravity shot. Aeolus easily canceled both of those out as well, but left himself open for Alexis to slam him with an elbow to the neck and a knee to the chest.
"Feel free to die any time now!" Aeolus propelled himself directly into the air, bringing Alexis along with him. They shot up at amazing speed, causing the already tired Alexis to weaken and lose his grip. As he slid off, Aeolus spun around in mid-air and hammered Alexis downward with a haymaker, followed up by a concentrated blast of air that also slowed Aeolus' descent. Alexis thundered to the ground and landed with a great crash.
There was a small dent in the ground where Alexis landed, moaning and writhing. The glow had disappeared. Aeolus stepped on his opponent's stomach.
"Game, set, and match. Sparky is my word, bitch."
Then he collapsed from exhaustion.
She wasn't even bothering with stealth now. She was working directly off the touch screen at one of the computer consoles. And the heat that had built up was oppressive; Leslie had taken off her shirt, working in only her sports bra and red camo pants, soaked through to the bone.
Echo had seen virtually the entire fight from the spy satellite she'd managed to hijack. The problem was, the comlink tracking on Nemean and Hermes indicated they had immediately turned back around the time of the explosion. At the pace they were moving at, they could probably get to the fight scene in another 12 to 15 minutes, and Aeolus was totally exhausted and there were no vehicles around.
Leslie looked at the cellphone in her hand. It had gone off the hook at the explosion and she hadn't bothered to try calling back yet. But it might be the only shot she had. She dialed Robert again.
The command center was completely topsy-turvy - Kennedy and Hanson both had nasty cuts on their heads and torsos, and Iris hung from her stretcher's straps like a ragdoll. Eridanus and his containment chamber were still on the original side of the wall which he'd started out on - which was now high up near the new ceiling. The chamber had cracked open, however, and his mask had fallen off; his legs continually shook and wavered, threatening to turn back into water.
Helena lay serenely on the new floor, what had once been the right wall, fine and unharmed but still bound. And Robert lay in a heap on the floor next to Iris' wall-bound stretcher, covered by medical supplies. A needle filled with blue-green liquid had landed on him and stabbed him on the arm, and there were many others nearby.
"Ugh... what the fuck happened?" The last thing he remembered was falling asleep in the clearing.
And the phone rang.
"Goddamnit... That better be a telemarketer... I need someone to bitch at." Robert groaned and slowly flipped open the clamshell phone. It had slammed shut during the explosion.
"Robert?!" The voice on the other end sounded immensely relieved. "This is Agent Echo. I've been calling you for several minutes - are you alright?"
"Ungh... fine, just got a hell of a headache. Sorry about the phone, it somehow shut off. Ugh. Something happened... I smell smoke..."
"You're in the Arcanum's mobile command. There was an explosion, knocked over the trailer. Aeolus was fighting Alexis Decker. What's the situation inside?"
"Helena's fine... I'm the only one conscious, I think. They patched up my leg. Though I've got this weird glowing turquoise crap stabbed into my arm..."
Echo's voice shot up in alarm. "Is it in a needle?"
"Uh... yeah. Is it something poisonous? Magic Ebola?"
"The exact opposite. It's Lotus Qamea dust mixed into an electrolyte solution. Are there any others around?"
"Yeah, a whole crapload of them. What's it do?"
"You can find out the specifics later, but think 'Gatorade' on steroids made for magic users. It'll work for you too, though, a bit. Inject the rest of that solution if you haven't already."
"Are you su-"
"Do you want to get out of there alive? Yes."
With some hesitation, Robert grabbed the needle and squeezed the rest of the fluid into his veins, then pulled it out and tossed the needle far away.
"So what now?"
"Take one of those extra needles to Aeolus and inject him. Give him a minute and he should be recharged - more than enough to fly you all out. Hurry, tell him Nemean and Hermes are on their way back quickly. He should be just outside the - shit!" The line went dead.
Robert looked confused, then decided that now wasn't the time. He struggled to stand up, pulling on a table that used to be on the floor. He didn't feel any more energized, but she had said it was mostly for magic users. Not to mention... somehow, he was magically awake, when no one else was. It was as good as explanation as anything else. Robert picked up the needle that looked the most full and put it in his pocket, the needle sticking up and out so as not to stab himself.
He limped over to the trailer door, trying to push it open, but he couldn't. He wasn't strong enough and something had jammed it shut. Robert cursed. They didn't have time for this. Muttering, he backed up a bit and then slammed his torso against the doors. They moved open a few inches. That was improvement.
Robert backed up and rammed the doors again. They slid open even further, but he stumbled over backwards and landed on the floor. The pain was too much; he couldn't do it again. A third time might end up crushing his solar plexus. This would have to do.
He hobbled back up to the door and peered through. He could see Aeolus; the rogue agent was resting on top of Alexis, occasionally twitching and moaning.
Robert called out. "Aeolus! Can you hear me, Aeolus?"
Robert shook his head and backed up once more. This was their only way out. He ran full tilt, even as he could hear the sickening crunch of his left shin breaking under the weight. Off of his right leg he sprang into the air and through the opening, smacking his forehead against the metal as he did so. A large cut was opened on his forehead, but he kept going, dragging himself across the ground to Aeolus. When he got within arms reach, he pulled the needle out of his pocket and stabbed Aeolus in the arm with it. Then, bruised, bloodied, and tired, Robert's head dropped and he lay on the ground.
Echo stood tall over the corpse of Agent Zeus, his smoking pistol in her hands pointed at his skull, her blue shirt and pants stained with his red blood. She had to act fast. They were starting to search here. Checking back on the satellite feed, she could see that Robert had injected Aeolus with the serum. Aeolus would be on his feet again soon, but it might not be soon enough to save him from Hermes and Nemean. Not at the rate their dots were crossing her map.
She had one last trick up her sleeve. Her fingers flew across the touchpad, inputting a final set of instructions. Both parts of this were far more destructive and unwieldy than she'd normally choose to use, but she was short on time for finesse. Besides, if she was going to die anyway, might as well go out with a bang, right?
Echo had just hit the last keystroke when the door was shoved open once again. It didn't even have to be forced; Zeus had blown the lock off.
It was the triplets. Meg, Tess, and Alex. Megaera, Tisiphone, and Alecto. The three of them stood in the doorway, their silhouettes drawn in a dismal contrast to the dim red light flooding the hallway outside and the room. Echo's blue fatigues turned purple in the light.
"Echo... I never figured you for a traitor." Meg's voice was sad, but resolute.
"I can't believe you did all that. The eviscerating... why?" Tess stared at Echo with fiery eyes.
Echo just looked at them sadly. "I didn't. Just do me two favors. Look close - real close - at Jimenez. And get the hell out of here before you die."
Alex snorted. "What kind of a bluff is that? We're not stupid, you know."
"And you're also not impervious to focused infrared radiation. There's enough time for you to get out now." Echo began to sniffle. "Please."
The triplets looked at each other, confused. Then realization dawned on all their faces.
"You didn't-" Meg started.
"I did. But you three were always kind to me and Aeolus. Get out now."
"If everyone else here is going down, we're not about to make ourselves an exception." It was Alex speaking, but all three raised their pistols and prepared to fire on Echo.
"But it won't be everyone else. It'll just be me, the computer systems, and the transportation center. Enough to cripple you without killing you. But if you don't leave now..." Leslie shook her head.
"So we can do what? Go back and say that we helped train a traitor and didn't have the guts to die with our mistake? Tess. Meg."
The three nodded in agreement. Echo didn't move. Three shots fired as one, ripping through Echo's throat. And then she vanished.
Stunned, they looked at each other confused for half a second, then realized what had just happened. A lingering voice echoed through the room, trailing off in volume until the energy died. "I'm not that sappy. Thank you, Megaera, but your princess is in another castle."
They growled at each other and headed out the room. They would find Echo.
Leslie dropped down from the rafters - still clad in a sports bra and red camo pants, her top lying carelessly on the floor below. A lot of what she had said had been true, though she really didn't know how much of it was true. But she was about to die, and she hadn't wanted them to die. What better way to convince a Fury to take your advice than by doing it in the guise of another transgression? If it seemed like it had all been a ruse to trick and kill them, then they'd not hesitate to save their lives. Easier to fight an enemy than a friend.
She shook her head to clear her headache. Making such a realistic echo was a pain. Then she peered at the monitor, muttering to herself. "Now witness the firepower of this fully operational battle station..."
Up above, in the far reaches of the upper atmosphere, an array of satellites slowly turned towards their target. There was a small blue glow of light on the tip of each one, and had you been there, you could swear there was the faintest sound of humming. The chorus, proclaiming the arrival of the god who would solve all problems. He lowered himself down from the sky by machines at the speed of light...
It was pure luck that Hermes had stopped to take a leak, promising to teleport the few feet he lost. Because in one instant, there was forest and mountain and Nemean; in another, there was a giant hole in the ground; and in another, there was a scary glow the intensity of sunlight. And then nothing, where there had been people, and trees, and rock.
Leslie had seen it all on the viewscreen. And panic overtook her. She immediately booted back up the program; forget self-sacrifice, she wanted to live. This was too much. She could delay the program, she would do something, anything that would save her; Aeolus succeeding did not matter anymore. She wasn't Aeolus. She wanted to live. She should have run, but it was too late now. The clock kept counting down, and as it reached ten seconds, she did the only thing she could.
Even as the walls around her started to warp with heat, Leslie sat down cross-legged and tried above all to clear her mind and make it at peace.
Agent Aeolus Book Update:
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169: Original Page Count
184: Current Page Count
Addition: +8.8% content
Goal: +20~25% content
Style Polishing, first run: Through Episode 7.5
Currently planned 'deleted scenes' to be added:
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- Stacy, Luke, and Alexis's parents with Alexis before Alexis goes off for his mission, as well as the 'government contact' that talked to Alexis.
- Possible flashback to Alexis' retirement.
- The scene where Echo thinks about having a flashback but doesn't? Find out what it was.
- Aeolus and Helena's squabble over the dog cage.
- Aeolus goes shopping.
- The rest of Yi T'aechong's normal life.
- More insight into Robert.
- More looks at Nemean as a commander.
- Possible more scenes with supporting cast (Eridanus, Hermes, Triplets, Iris)
- Finish up that bar scene.
- Random scenes to be inserted here and there as part of making the episodes go seamlessly together.