Chapter 17: Unstoppable Force (Energia: Titans of Verità)

Energia: Titans of Verità
Table of Contents (For Catching Up) *Fixed it*

When Anna woke up, she noticed several things all at once. One, she was laying on something soft, and she was wrapped in something equally comfortable. Two, a ray of light was shining uncomfortably on her face, which was likely what woke her up. Three: something was clutching to her stomach and chest very tightly. Her skin in both areas burned.

No. That wasn’t right. How could her skin burn when it had all been torn off?

She shot up in her bed, agony rocketing through her body. The test! What happened to the last test? She racked her memory. Her E-Suit broke down in the fight, and… she blacked out? How did that happen?

Her blood became cold. She was lying in a white bed in a wide, white room, illuminated only by the glow of the blue power lines in the walls and floor. Several other beds filled the space, but hers was the only one occupied. Gray metal trays sat beside each bed, covered in different medical supplies. This must be the infirmary. Which means… she lost.

Part of her wanted to scream and make a mess of the room. Another part wanted to sob. Another wanted to run away. She couldn’t muster the will to do anything. All she could do was sit there, as still as a gravestone and as white as paper.

After a while, she made herself look around again. It wasn’t just the beds that were empty. There wasn’t anyone else in the room at all. Her only company was the quiet buzz of power and the orange glow of the setting sun. The night was coming as the second sun dipped beneath the horizon. Not a doctor or nurse was in sight. She remembered that there were plenty of other applicants who ended up in here. They must have gotten out already. Were her injuries that severe?

Anna checked her bandages. Her body still hurt, but not nearly as much as before. She could feel the medicine lacing her torso stinging at her wounds. She could already feel her injuries closing. She’d be fine by the end of the day at worst.

There was a deep emptiness in her chest. A technical break down single-handedly tore away all of her dreams. She was too crushed to feel angry. All she wanted was to disappear.

She forced herself out of bed. The gown they gave her was deep blue, and it was a perfect fit. But it was hardly fashionable. If she was going to sulk home, the least she could do was look half decent. Luckily, they had set her clothes, or at least what was left of them, at the foot of the bed. Aside from her shirt, everything else was still intact. They had set out a plain white tank-top to replace it.

On any other day, she would have been grateful. But as she quickly tore the gown away and got dressed, the numbness never went away. Not even the familiar warmth and comfort of her leather jacket reached her. It all felt cold.

When she was dressed, Anna tried the door. Part of her was surprised that it slid open when she approached. But the rest of her didn’t care. She wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. Maybe then she’d get to at least spend a night in her own bed before being thrown in jail.

The halls of Order HQ were just as empty as the hospital. It curved around for a while before descending slowly. Eventually, she found herself back in the building’s entrance hall. It was just as lifeless as the rooms that came before it. Where had everyone gone?

The silence was broken when she stepped outside. The buzz of city life came at her like a semi-truck. Cars honked their horns. Pedestrians chattered with each other or their holo-phones. A crier stood at the corner, crying out the word of the new gods. She flinched at the sudden assault on her ears. But that had little effect compared to the first sight that greeted her. Her heart sank deeper into her stomach.

At the bottom of the stairs stood the German Chief of police. A wide, smug smile complimented his gleaming eyes. “Guten abend, Ironchase!” he said. “What’s the matter? You look… what’s the word for it? Broken? No, that’s not it… Oh yes! Defeated! That’s the one!”

She didn’t have the energy for a clever retort.

He waited for her to give one. When she never gave it, he let out a quiet sigh. “Take all the fun out of it, why don’t you?” he approached, twirling a pair of handcuffs in one hand. “It’s not that big a deal! You would have just found the same thing that you did in the squad car yesterday.”

Liar. She bit her lower lip. If she were going to end up in a cell, the least they could do was start telling her the truth. This only made the bitter taste worse. She was so close to the truth, and now she was going back to the web of lies. Well, nothing I can do about it now. Resigned to her fate, she reached her arms out and waited for him to cuff her.

A sudden, loud crash exploded from behind her. Both Anna and the chief jumped at the sudden sound, turning to see what happened. A few members of the flowing crowds stopped to stare. But no one seemed too bothered or shocked by it. She heard a pair of young boys speaking to each other in hushed, excited tones. Was this common?

The dust cleared, and Anna could make out two figures through the cloud. One lay on the ground flattened out on his back. He was wearing a black jumpsuit drenched in sweat. Meanwhile, the other figure towered over the first man, glowing a dim yellow. When the cloud of gray was finally clear, his white armor became clear as if it hadn’t even touched him.

“Oh, excellent!” said Jakob Milldrew at the sight of them, smiling broadly. “For a moment, I was afraid I’d have to rush to the German Sector! Not that I would’ve minded, but I’d prefer to visit on my personal time for more, how you say, fun reasons. Business trips are always such a hassle! But I digress.”

He reached down and pulled the flattened man to his feet. He was an older man, clean-shaven and pale. A nasty, purple bruise covered his entire left cheek. His sea-blue eyes locked onto the Chief. The old man froze at his gaze, clearly terrified.

“So, sir Chief of Police,” the High Commander hissed, staring at the Chief. Anna had never seen so much murder in someone’s eyes before. “Would you care to explain what’s going on here? Or will you leave that pleasure to me?”

They were met with a long silence. The Chief’s jaw opened and closed without a sound. Anna looked back from him to Milldrew. “What are you talking about?” she finally asked.

“The pleasure is mine, then!” Milldrew smiled like a snake. “You see, Ms. Ironchase, this man” he shook the bruised man with one hand like a doll “is an old friend of our dear Chief of police. The two grew up together back on Earth. This man joined Order, and the Chief became a police officer. A rather dull story, really.

“It’s not all boring, though. It’s what they did today where it gets interesting! See, the Chief seems to be far from a good sportsman! He just couldn’t bear to see you slip past him this morning! Worse, he couldn’t bear to imagine you getting away from him forever by actually passing today’s exams! Imagine what that would do to his image! So, to protect his ego, he called in some favors!”

Sweat began sliding smoothly down the Chief’s face. He stood as still as a statue, save for his stuttering jaw. Several sentences started in his mouth, but none of them escaped.

Milldrew continued. “Honestly, I’m impressed! You two must be good friends if you were willing to risk losing your jobs just to crush some girl’s dreams! Though I’m guessing you didn’t intend for him to do the work. Isn’t that why you hired your boys in black? Tell me, did you specifically ask them to wait on the train all day or did they do that on their own?”

“STOP IT!” the Chief finally shouted. “I see what you’re trying to do! You’re trying to set me up! Well, I-”

“Let me finish.” Milldrew interrupted in an ice-cold hiss. “You thought you were being subtle? As if we could miss someone sabotaging a holding cell containing a Magniacarne in the middle of the exam? Or we couldn’t notice the deliberate adjustments made to Ms. Ironchase’s E-Suit for the final test? Did you honestly think we wouldn’t see who handed her a broken set of armor?”

Anna felt her heart pick up speed. Come on, she prayed in silent desperation. I’ve gotten lucky so far! Just give me one more!

“To summarize very briefly” Milldrew threw the bruised man away and watched him stumble off “you, Anna Ironchase, have been sabotaged.” He stared at the Chief, drawing his lips to a line. “And you, Chief Hans Villard, along with all your co-conspirators, are guilty of trying to sabotage an official Order operation. You understand what that means, yes?”

Chief Villard took a nervous step back. “Y-you can’t get rid of me!” he stammered. “I’ve been Chief of Police for years! I have too much authority! You can’t-”

“One day.”

Both the Chief and the bruised man stopped. “Excuse me?” said the Chief.

“I’ll give you both one day. Pack your bags, get drunk, go into hiding, do whatever you want. After that…” his smile was so sinister that even Melcroft would shiver at the sight of it. “Well, I do like a decent hunt. Try to find a good hiding spot, would you? It’s been a while since I had a decent challenge!”

If Anna could sell her soul to see the sheer terror on the men’s faces even one more time in her life, she would do it in a heartbeat. They looked from Milldrew, then to her, then to each other. Chief Villard did his best to shoot her and Milldrew menacing glares. “I’m the German Chief of Police.” He growled. “I’m-”

“Out of a job.” Milldrew finished for him with ice in his voice. “Sorry, but I feel the need to remind you: Order has more authority than anyone else in any Sector.” He smirked. “Unless you want to take it up with the Council of Leaders back on Earth. I’m sure they’d love to hear all about it!”

If nothing before that was scaring him, that threat was more than enough. The two looked at each other as if they were trying to communicate telepathically. Then they stormed off into the crowds towards the German Sector, trying their best not to look like they were running. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the gawking onlookers from pointing at them and laughing. Anna nearly joined in.

“Now then” Milldrew grinned, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder “I’ll need you to come back inside with me, Ms. Ironchase. See, we still need to get through all the not-fun parts of signing up for the job: the paperwork.”

After taking a running start, Anna’s heart leaped up and soared. “Wait… You mean-”

“Indeed.” He gave her the warmest smile she’d ever seen and reached out a hand to her. “Congratulations, Anna Ironchase! As of today, you are an official Order Operative!”

From the author,

Thank you for reading part one of Energia: Titans of Verità! I hope you enjoyed it! If you have any thoughts or pointers to help me improve it, feel free to let me know! I want to make sure the story is as good as I could possibly can, and I need your guys’ help to do it!
Now, I want to make it clear: we are far from done. Anna and her new friends in Order still have a lot of adventures ahead of them! We are, however, going to take a break. I need some more time to prepare part two.
Don’t worry! I won’t keep you guys waiting for too long! Keep an eye out on June 7th, 2020 for Energia’s return! I hope you’re excited, because I aim to make it even better than part one!
I’ll see you guys then! Until then, I hope you have a lovely day!

Jonah Hunt

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