They exited the van, and immediately several cameras flashed. Miya and Nomad had an escorting officer apiece. Four officers flanked Olivia in a box around her, X walking behind, guns held loosely. At least they didn’t bother locking the cuffs too tight. She figured she could break them fairly easily if it came to it, no matter what they did with them. The police seemed to know that too. They seemed kind of spooked by the whole bulletproof thing at first. She’d cooperated, and that seemed to take the edge off them. Olivia herself felt far more at ease now that a good dozen guns weren’t aimed at her.
The police had herded Olivia, Nomad, and Miya onto the armored van with several officers and X. Pathfinder and the other officers without a patrol car got in the other police van. Olivia couldn’t see or hear it now. They marched towards the somewhat grim, grey, concrete building. Few windows marked the walls; nothing but more concrete and the occasional dark metal statue composed of the surrounding exterior.
Some members of the press were there (hence the cameras), taking pictures as they entered the building. Olivia ducked her head down to attract less attention, but they gawked anyway. At least the officers are keeping them away. Some police lined the short walkway into the building, keeping the reporters out.
Once inside, most of the officers peeled off, heading down a different hallway to the right, leaving Olivia with only one officer (Bob, I think) and X. The one leading Nomad continued going forward. The remaining officers led Olivia and Miya down. She saw, with some other people at some computers, Delta, who waved. Olivia was too nervous to drag up a sincere smile, but tried anyway. That seemed to satisfy Delta, who nodded and returned to talking to the others. They moved on. Finally, they came to a cell. Bob removed the cuffs as X opened the door. Ahead of them, Miya and her officer continued on further.
There was a mattress, a toilet, and nothing else beyond the metal walls, ceiling, and floors. X motioned for her to go in, saying, “You’ll wait here until we call you for questioning and we get this sorted out.”
She hesitantly moved forward, then stopped in the doorway. Half turning, she said, “Excuse me,” to Bob. She could gauge his reactions better than X’s, who hadn’t taken off his helmet.
“Hmm?” he grunted curiously
“I’m not going to be sent to a…lab, or anything…right?” she asked. “And…my friends. They aren’t in trouble, are they?”
Confusion briefly crossed Bob’s face, but it was X that responded, “Depends. It’s not for us to say. But don’t worry too much about that.” With that he motioned to the cell again. She entered, and the door shut behind her. At least those stupid cuffs are gone.
She waited about an hour. At one point she tried to stretch her wings, only to discover that the cell was not big enough for that. Combined with the fact that the cell didn’t smell too great, this gave her a mild case of claustrophobia. She spent the rest of the time torturing herself with all the different ways this could go terribly, horribly wrong.
A beep sounded from over the door, causing her to jump slightly. The door opened to reveal three different officers. One looked at her with barely restrained hostility, and ordered, “Up. Now.”
She mutely complied, even when he produced the cuffs again. Why? They led her to a well lit room with a metal table in the center, with two chairs on either side. A black glass window took up one of the walls to the left of the door. They indicated she should take the far seat, then the angry one left, leaving the two officers, one man, one woman, flanking the door. Five minutes passed, the officers not so much as coughing. Olivia fidgeted nervously on the edge of her seat. Stupid backrest.
She could hear faint murmurs from outside the room, occasionally rising in volume, then falling again. Finally, the door opened and in walked a bearded man, lightly armored in black. His helmet extended to cover the top half of his face.
He introduced himself as he sat across from her, “My name is Cyrus.”
Olivia got even more nervous at that. Delta and the others had told her that Cyrus had one of the strongest powers in the world. Why is he in here with me? She managed to keep herself from reacting further than slightly widened eyes and a twitch of her tail.
Cyrus continued in a matter of fact tone, “I’m here to ask you some questions.” Everyone I’ve talked to has a high opinion of you, so I’m just going to assume some government protocol is making you state the obvious.
“For the record, state your name.”
“Olivia.” He seemed to be waiting for something else. She fixed her eyes on the desk in front of him. “Um…that’s it.”
He nodded and continued, “First things first, were you and your friends working with Freedom Fighter in any way?”
“No.” Hadn’t we gotten past this by now?
He seemed satisfied with that. He said, “Now, we want a recounting of the events today.”
“Um, OK,” she said, thinking of what to say. “We were looking for Freedom Fighter. Delta, she had made some things that blocked out his power, so we could get close. We ran into a big group of rioters, and two guys with powers. One was called Membrane, I think. He smelled pretty bad. The other was…Tod, that was it.” She remembered not remembering any names (if that made any sense), even Nomad’s. She’d think about it later, now was not the time.
She continued, “Um…they shot at us. We fought. I think Skulker and Delta got away. Then you found me and Nomad and Miya.”
“So did you take part in this combat?”
“Yeah. Um…the Tod guy. He hit me a couple times. I think I might have broken his knee or something.”
“Solid Tod hit you?” He sounded somewhat incredulous. Solid? Whatever.
“A couple of times. Um…three or four times, I think. It kind of hurt.”
“Kind of?” She glanced at him. He eyed the bullet holes in her clothes, they hadn’t provided a change of clothes.
What did I say? “Yeah. I don’t…I don’t remember it too well though. Why?”
“Tod strikes with enough force to go through walls and vehicles. Most people wouldn’t be in one piece after one hit.” Cyrus let that sink in, then continued, “You said Delta developed some new invention, correct? One that would nullify Freedom Fighter’s power.”
“Yeah, I have no idea how though. I mean, she was here earlier, she’d know how it worked.”
“Yes, but do you know if it worked?”
“Erm, well, I never got within Freedom Fighter’s power, so…no, I guess I don’t know. Sorry.”
He nodded. “You mentioned Miya. How did she fall in with you four?”
Olivia wasn’t entirely certain if there was anything she shouldn’t tell the police. She couldn’t think of why she shouldn’t. On the other hand she hadn’t thought that her little trip to the hospital would end the way it did, so maybe caution was best? Lying will probably get me nowhere with these people.
“We were looking for ways to find Freedom Fighter. Delta,” was basically the only reason we were able to do this. “found some sort of hideout his people were using. We found Miya in there.”
After a pause, he said, “And? Why was she in there?”
“Um, I didn’t really talk to her about it.” It seemed like a personal thing to Miya; Olivia didn’t want to talk about her to someone else like this. “She mentioned something about someone named…Overlord, and experiments.”
“Then how did she end up with Freedom Fighter’s men?”
“Um…well. I think they…sold her to…to them.” The words left a bad taste in Olivia’s mouth.
“Yes. Unfortunate. Now, about you,” Olivia flinched slightly, eyes still firmly planted on the desk, “Why did it take you so long to pop up on our radar? Why did you hide, instead of trying to find help or information?”
She thought for a moment. Because look at me. Though on second thought that probably wasn’t the best answer she could provide. She managed to mumble, “I…I don’t…know. I didn’t…didn’t know what…was going on.” Why am I stammering so much? “I don’t want…to be dissected or anything.” She was quiet after that.
“How long ago do you remember? We know some strange things happen to feral minds.”
“Um…about three weeks, I think.”
“Was there anything you did recognize? Names, places, anything like that?”
“No. I kind of…learned everything from scratch. Or relearned, I guess.” I know, I’m weird. “Skulker seemed almost…offended that I didn’t know what ‘I am your father’ was. I still don’t, either.”
Cyrus blinked, as did the guards by the door. “So you didn’t know what Freedom Fighter could do? At the hospital.”
Olivia had been wondering when this would come up. Of course, she still didn’t have a good answer for them, but you can still worry about a problem without a solution to it. “Um…no. I…I didn’t.”
“We need you to tell us exactly what happened.”
I killed a bunch of people. “Well, there was the bomb. The others were ordered to go somewhere, they told me to stay there. But, I don’t know. I…I guess I thought I could help…or do something.” Her reasoning sounded really dumb to her once she said it out loud. Cyrus’s expression gave no indication of what he thought.
He remained silent, so Olivia continued, “When I got there…I got…I got really angry. And then I kind of…blacked out.”
“So you don’t remember any of what you did?”
“No. Not really.”
Cyrus remained silent for a minute. I messed up something didn’t I? They’re going to kill me, aren’t they? The earpieces of the door guards buzzed with orders. Both exited without a word. She heard shouting as the door closed. Olivia looked around, but found nothing helpful in the featureless walls of the interrogation room.
“Ummm, excuse me, um…Cyrus?”
She waited until he said, “Yes?”
“What…exactly, is going to happen…now?”
Cyrus also had an earpiece, and from it she managed to hear a harsh voice bark out, “So, what are you waiting for? Tell it.” It. He sounded like the angry guy from earlier. I really don’t like where this is going.
Cyrus seemed to consider his words. He sighed. “Your friends will be released, without charges. You will be sent to the feral institute in Houston.” Nononononono.
There was a faint hissing sound, not from her, but from the walls. Pale white gas filled the room. There seemed to be a bubble of clean air around Cyrus. She was up, handcuffs snapped and chair on the floor before she realized it.
Cyrus remained in his seat, unfazed. He muttered, “Marcus,” and shook his head. Olivia managed to take a step towards the door or glass, then felt the knockout gas take effect. She heard the murmurs of yet more shouting from the glass before the world went dark. That was fast.
She slowly came around, all of her surroundings vibrating slightly. She cracked her eyes open slightly. She appeared to be in the back of a moving van of some kind. She immediately forced down her rising panic to take stock, and stay absolutely still. I want to get out of here as soon as possible.
She re-closed her eyes and listened. And smelled. They had a gas mask attached to her face, making her breath what she assumed was the gas that had knocked her out in the interrogation room. Olivia picked up a very faint odor from it. She recovered from the effects of it remarkably quickly. It was probably in place to keep her under until they got to Houston. I might have the element of surprise if they’re not expecting me to be awake.
Olivia could tell that they strapped her to a bed or cot of some kind on her back. It’s actually incredibly uncomfortable. There’s a reason I’ve never slept on my back, and that reason is called wings. The straps were actually chains, Olivia could feel the cool metal and links on her. One length on her shins, another on her waist (keeping her arms pinned as well), and the final on her upper chest. I really hope I can break those. She had no idea how strong she was, she’d never really been pushed to her limits in that respect.
From the smell, the van had a driver, and two other people monitoring Olivia in the back. She hazarded a look through her eyelids. One held a rifle of some kind on his lap. Some kind of guard, from his clothes. She couldn’t make out any insignia that would mark him as an officer, MHU or otherwise.
The other was a woman in plainclothes, watching Olivia. Uh oh. Did they see me twitch or something. The woman pulled out a book and started reading. I guess not.
The guard said, “Nothing?”
The woman spared him a glance up from her book. “Nothing,” she said. “We have enough of the sedative to keep her out for two days if need be.”
“Isn’t it kind of dangerous to keep someone on a sedative for this long?”
“No, it’s techie made stuff, apparently. It shouldn’t be lethal.” The conversation trailed off.
Olivia had fully overcome the effects of the gas at this point. She maintained a slow breathing, in spite of every survival instinct screaming at her to get out as fast as possible. She began to plan.
Olivia couldn’t tell how far they had gotten from Westward City. The guy with the gun could be a problem. I really hate this. The back of the van lacked windows, it was hard for her to confirm what was outside. By the sound, they were moving fairly fast on a highway, very probably going east. She could kind of make out the sounds of other cars and trucks moving as well. No signs of any helicopters, though they could be surrounded by patrol cars.
Got to get the chains off. And this stupid mask thing. I think I can block the guy from getting a good aim on me once I’m up. If I can, stop them from radioing anyone, though that’s a nice to have, not priority. But if I can’t break these chains this is going to be over real fast.
She steeled herself, and took a deep breath. She pushed outward with her arms and legs. The cot, pulled by the chain, began to crumple up towards her legs. Then cot was deformed enough for her to kick her legs free. Meanwhile she managed to get her hands on the middle chain, pulling it free. The woman screamed. Olivia grabbed the mask with one hand, the final chain with the other and tore them both off. She sat upright. That was easy! At least she was thinking clearly, she more wanted to escape than fight anyone.
The guard tried to bring his rifle to bear on Olivia, difficult to do in a tight location, such as the back of a moving van. This was made even more difficult when Olivia snapped her nearest wing to buffet the man in the face. The woman had banged on the wall separating the driver from the back section, screaming that Olivia was loose. The van swerved slightly, then began to slow down. Need to leave now.
Olivia threw herself at the back doors. They burst open. Now airborne, she took stock of her surroundings for a brief second, then thought, perhaps there was a better exit strategy than this. She was reminded that they were still moving fairly fast on a highway when she was rammed by the police car trailing the van as an escort before she could get lift. Oww.
She bounced off the top of the police car, smashing the top in the process, and hit the ground. She rolled to a stop a couple yards later. Owwwww. Note to self: don’t do that again. She lay partially stunned in the road; two cars swerved to avoid her. The police car’s rear stuck out of the median ditch thing separating the flows of traffic of the highway. The van had come to a stop well ahead of Olivia. The sun had just set in the west, by the faint glimmer of light from that direction. A siren came from…somewhere further down the road in the direction of the van.
Olivia pushed herself up, and tried to stand. Her right leg protested with a spasm of pain when she tried to put weight on it. She did her best to ignore it. Some shots cracked out from behind her, missing. Get moving. Her wings didn’t hurt, but her leg screamed in agony when she jumped. She managed to get lift anyway, leaving the van and cops behind her. She followed the road, heading back west.
Several hours of nonstop flight. That’s how long it took for her get back to Westward City. She hadn’t flown that long nonstop before, though it wasn’t that much of a strain in comparison to walking on her bad leg. She kept a watch for helicopters or the police in any way. It tired her more than anything else she’d done before.
During the flight, she managed to pinpoint the exact location of the source of pain in her leg. Her kneecap wasn’t exactly where it was supposed to be, which might have had something to do with the ache she felt. She didn’t have enough medical knowledge to begin to figure out how to fix it. At least flying was remarkably easy on the legs, and she could ignore the pain enough to function.
She finally came to the shop, setting down as gently as possible. She limped towards the door to their base, hearing nothing. No. The door was locked, she forced it open anyway. Abandoned. No one inside. Most of the stuff was still there. It smelled like they hadn’t been there for about a day, though she could be wrong on that. Did…did they leave?