Jutting her chin up to the sky, Mercy walked with aggravated obedience alongside Xavier who had to snap cuffs around her wrists to keep her from either bolting or smacking him. Her sweaty, dusty, and bloody hair swished in ratty knots against her shoulders. Her lips held a scowl upon them. Her eyes glowered up at everyone that passed them by. She was the epitome of a hormonal teenager in Xavier’s eyes.
Grey eyes rolled at her attitude, but Xavier continued to walk the teenager towards the multitudes of stations that were placed in front of the base. The girl’s eyes scrutinized each cleaning station, and she winced at the sharp hospital lights that pierced her pupils. Xavier walked them through the first door then tossed the girl into the chair.
From the folds of another part of the station, a brunette appeared in medical garb. Green gloves, surgical mask, white scrubs, yeah, the chick had on the whole shebang. Still, the teenager had to sit still as the woman peeled away the surgical mask to reveal full, crimson stained lips that curled at the dirty child’s disgust.
“Well, Xavier, it seems as if you brought home a cute, little girl.” The brunette turned away from Xavier to look towards the girl. “What’s your name, girl? Mine is Gwen Xenna.”
Scoffing at the soothing voice that the doctor or nurse or whatever the hell that bitch was, the raggedy teenager snarled, “Listen, bitch, my name is Mercy Rainier, and I’m not a baby. I’m seventeen years old and can whip a gun out faster than you can hop on this guy’s cock and acclimate.” She leaned closer to the woman whose jaw had dropped to the floor and whispered, “Suck it.”
Unable to do anything but stand there and gawk, Gwen stared in awe at the child. What a complete bitch! Had no one even tried to raise that tramp right? Gwen had no clue. All she could do was stare at the girl whose smile was wider than the space between Earth and Mars.
Breaking in, Xavier waved his hand. “Hey, both of you shut up. We didn’t come here to dis the Militia or each other.” His grey eyed attention turned to the awestruck doctor. “Just toss Mercy in the showers and let’s check her out for Infection. If she’s okay, we’ll treat her with some just-in-case antibodies and keep a tight leash on her. It’s not like we can just send her out there to die. She’s a kid.”
Mercy cast a quick glower towards the soldier before having him pull her up lightly by her arm. “What if I don’t want to stay here? What are you going to do then, soldier? Shoot me?” She yanked away from Xavier but was quickly reeled back in by his god-like strength. His grip was like a manacle, and from all of the tug of war they’d been playing with her arm, she’d be sure to have bruise marks in lines as long as his fingers. There was no getting out of his grasp unless he felt like letting you go.
“Well, unfortunately, Mercy, you won’t have a say in the matter, and if you try and escape, I doubt that you’ll get any farther than the elevator.” His free hand pointed towards the cameras following them towards a steamy room. “There are cameras up and down this place. Even the bathrooms have cameras.”
Snarling, Mercy continued to walk then was paused when Gwen said, “Hand her over, Xavier. I’ll have to take her into the showers, and you have to go too anyway. The other doctors will see to it that your blood samples are drawn. They’ve already checked out the briefcase and have it in Analysis as we speak… also said that they’d use this girl’s samples as your missing vials.”
With a nod, Xavier walked off. Every step he took that had him walking further away from the rowdy street rat that he’d left behind had him being followed by a curse or insult. Whatever hatred that her father had instilled into her was deep rooted. With hatred like that it could never be stomped out. Mercy would always hate the Militia. It was a kind of rage that Xavier was familiar with. He understood what Mercy was going through.
As Xavier withdrew the curtain to the showers filled with other soldiers washing the blood and gore from their bodies, he took a trip down memory lane.
“No! Don’t take her too! Please, don’t take my baby girl!” a woman howled as her unborn child squirmed within her belly at her mother’s distress. “Please! Just take the boy if you have to take one of them. Just the boy! I never wanted him in the first place!”
Standing wide eyed as his mother screamed to the man who had called himself Amar Aurora, Xavier watched his mother’s vein attempts to save his unborn sister. His tears ran hot down his face though he made not a single sound. What did he do? Why did Momma not want him? Confused, Xavier squeezed his arms tighter around the broken stuffed wolf that he had been given on Christmas morning just days ago.
The tall man just snickered at the bawling woman and patted young Xavier on his jet black head. Amar leaned forward towards the woman. “Sorry, ma’am, but the Militia is not prejudiced against young women in the battlefield. You’ll just have to give up that cute baby girl of yours too.”
“I’m only six months! You can’t take my child before she’s born!” Xavier’s mother exclaimed as she dug her nails into the bed sheets she had been cuffed onto.
The man examined Xavier’s mother with a steady expression before explaining, “Yes, we can, Mrs. Shadowheart, and since your husband would rather give up his children than go to jail for treason, we have full legal ability to take your baby.” He turned to the brunette doctor whose name Xavier didn’t catch and said, “Take her baby. We’ll have enough trouble trying to change this boy before the deportation to Mars. He’s too old. Probably best sent to slaughter.”
Xavier’s eyes flashed wide as the woman stabbed a needle into his mother, and he screamed as Amar picked four year old Xavier up. The last thing he saw was the woman looming over his mother’s flailing form as she cried out to Xavier. “Take care of your sister, Xavier! I will hate you forever if you don’t!”
Glowering, Xavier stepped out of the shower with that last haunting phrase echoing in his mind. It was such a stupid phrase but one that had haunted him through every one of his years ever since seeing his white headed sister always at the side of that sick bastard, Amar Aurora. Yeah, Xavier could understand Mercy’s rage. He felt it every single time that bastard came around and forced Xavier’s sister to sit in Amar’s lap. Xavier knew what went on behind closed doors with the two of them.
Slowly, Xavier wrapped a towel around his waist then departed from the showers to head to the next station. Augustine was filled with these kinds of stations. At every entrance in the base, even if you hadn’t left, you had to go through one. It was due to Gwen’s paranoia that someone would contract the disease, and most of everyone had in some form or another—except for Xavier.
That was why Gwen made sure to take as much blood from him as possible. She was the biggest vampire he’d ever seen, and he’d seen plenty after killing off some Infected that were feeding on some trapped soldiers in the hospital basement. She planned to make some cure or something from his DNA. She oftentimes called him the perfect experiment when she was talking to someone else.
If anything, it was creepy as hell. Still, Xavier had to put up with it. He had been sent here after his awakening by Roran Crell himself. It was his first mission to go there and help the base. Roran said that he’d give him further orders after he could clear up some problems he’d been having with his wife.
Leaning his head back against the smooth leather of a chair, Xavier tossed his arm up on the table to have another doctor draw his blood. The man withdrew the syringe and without a word drew blood from Xavier’s arm.
There was something about the way that people always treated him around here. It was standoffish as if they were afraid Xavier would snap at the smallest thing. Very few people spoke to him aside from Gwen and a woman with dyed purple and blue hair named Winter. Men always stood away from Xavier as if he was a lone wolf, but women frequently gawked, admiring him from a distance but never saying a word.
It wasn’t like Xavier had done anything but sleep in the past century or so. He’d been sealed up and hidden away under the capital city of Cratos. No one that he knew or had ever known was alive aside from a few people in the Crux Militia. His whore of a mother was long gone, and his useless father had died in prison, still taken away for treason despite his barter with Amar. His sister was alive, but he wasn’t even allowed to speak to her.
Perhaps, they stayed away because of this. They expected him to snap once he realized that everyone was dead, but Xavier wouldn’t do that. He knew when he was thirty-two and sealed off inside of that steel casket that everyone would be dead when he awakened. If anything, he was surprised at the amounts of people that were still alive. He figured that Oktober would be dead and that Amar would be killed by the rebels. He didn’t suspect to see either one of them especially not within reaching distance.
Nodding to the man that had taken his blood, Xavier tossed on simple clothing then went through a body screening that tested his immortal bones and muscle. As usual, he passed with flying colors—ones brighter than the younger men and women that had just recently been immortalized by Gwen’s miracle antidotes.
He scowled at the thought. Immortality, such a waste. It was given to the power hungry not to the beneficial. The men and women that could rescue this land died off and died off fast. It was no wonder that this land had succumbed to the wild wickedness within each and every man in existence.
Nonetheless, Xavier wandered away from the masses of people in each station then weaved into the front lobby of the massive Augustine Hospital. There people were sitting in the waiting room chairs, chatting casually amongst the serenade of elevator music, and being taken off by the nurses to go to their doctors. The scene was so casual despite the raging war just down the road. People in Augustine were all military, and for some strange reason, they paid little notice to the nearness of the war.
Only three hundred miles away, rebels were sending out Infected to rid the world of the Crux Militia and Roran Crell’s government. They were so close, on the brink of discovering Augustine, the center of Roran’s military might. Alas, no one was paying any mind to it.
On each and every angle of Xavier’s vision, people were acting so… normal. Could it be that the stress had sent them into a state of eternal peace? He doubted it. These people’s eyes didn’t look like the eyes of the men that Xavier had sent to that kind of abyss. These people’s eyes were just simply and inadvertently calm.
He assumed that it was due to their knowledge of their own force. The Crux Militia was the most revered in the new world. Few people dared to even trespass within their borders. They knew that trespass’s penalty was death, and to be frank, no one truly wants to die.
Ignoring the common actions of his comrades in arms, Xavier strolled further down the lobby until he came upon an elevator. It was glass. Everything that could be seen was seen from this elevator. It was the spine of Augustine Hospital.
With the press of a square button, Xavier watched the multitude of two hundred lights that represented the many floors of this skyscraper of a hospital. Each one light up for a brief second as the elevator breezed through the floors. The lights on the floor were just done blinking on and off once the elevator opened up for Xavier to slip into the elevator that sent out several people. Just when he was about to press the one hundredth floor’s button, a familiar tomboyish voice cried out in the distance.
“Stop that elevator!” a voice exclaimed out from amongst the masses, and Winter Crusade leaped over someone’s kid before coming to a sliding halt beside Xavier. “Thank ya, sir.” Giving the soldier a loving but very manly smack on the back, Winter thanked the man.
Grinning, Xavier said, “Leave it to you to cause a scene over a closed door.” His gaze looked around to see where her General was. “Where are my sister and Amar? If you’re here, they must be around here somewhere. Right?”
Winter gave a nod, making her different colored hair bob around her lanky arms. “They’re here. We actually came to deliver a message to you from Roran. It’s something about some girl he found. She’s been working around with Infected DNA and made a couple breakthroughs on things Gwen hasn’t been able to find. He wants her here.”
Xavier gave a shrug, clearly not understand where he fit into that straight line of a puzzle. After thirty seconds of waiting in the elevator, the glass doors parted for Xavier to lock eyes with his sister.
Grey and blue met in the distance between them. Recognition flashed in her eyes then came the brief glimpse of dampness, shame. It happened like this every time they met with each other. The meeting of the eyes, her shyly looking away as if she was ashamed she was getting raped by that bastard Amar. Xavier was used to it despite the thick pit of hatred he was harboring deep within his heart for that sick freak.
No one should be allowed to touch his sister like that. If Xavier could lay a palm on Amar without being killed, he would have ripped the man’s testicles off with Amar’s own hand. Oktober knew it even though they’d never spoken anything more than a few greetings and goodbyes, and Amar knew it. That was why he hired so many more guards to protect him when he had to come meet with Xavier.
Tossing his gaze around the circular hallway, Xavier counted each one of Amar’s guards. There was one to the left. Two more were to the right. Winter was another one of them. He even had one of them casually strolling around to try to get Xavier to not realize that that was the reason the man never stopped at any of the bedrooms. Desperation? Xavier believed so. Amar may have been desperate, but he was right to have men guarding him because if enough of them left Xavier would rip him limb from limb.
“Xavier,” his sister mumbled with a short nod of recognition before sinking back to the state of silence Amar always kept her in.
“Oktober. Amar.” Xavier acknowledged each and every one of the guards around him to make sure that they knew he’d figured them out. A cold chill seemed to settle in the air, making some of the guards nervous and ready to bolt. Xavier noticed it. He noticed it and made sure to walk himself in front of the elevator, showing them that escape was impossible from here.
“General Shadowheart, it’s always a pleasure to have you around,” Amar greeted before motioning to a grouping of chairs that he must have had put together for this little meeting. “Please, have a seat. We only have a few short things to discuss before I’ll have you sent off on this mission.”
With a nod Xavier said down. Winter sat to his left, looking more like Xavier’s guard than Amar’s. Her general noticed this, frowned, but didn’t make any more notion to it. When Amar sat down, he made sure to have Xavier’s sister throw her legs over the arm of the chair so that he could place one hand on her bare knee and have the other trailing through her ivory hair.
The soldier’s grey eyes narrowed, but he kept his mouth shut. There was nothing he could say here that wouldn’t provoke a fight between himself and the others guards. Just the slightest movement could provoke the men to attack him. It was a decree given by Roran Crell himself after Xavier had beaten Amar to near death in a drunken brawl over Oktober.
Roran knew that Xavier’s killing strikes could come in the fewest of seconds, so he made sure that Amar and Xavier stayed separate unless forced to meet. It was a government sentenced restraining order.
The enemy general saw the way that his presence around Xavier’s sister was treating Xavier, and he made languid strokes up and down Oktober’s thighs. Her blood thrummed in fear that he desired to stoke. In pure bliss, Amar taunted Xavier to act as he continued to pet Oktober.
“What the hell do you want, Amar?” Xavier snarled between gritted teeth as his eyes followed Amar’s hands on his sister. The air heated, and all the guards put their hands on their weapons—all except Winter who was glaring at Amar with the same heated rage as Xavier.
“Well, Roran called for me to assign you to a case that he has become particularly intrigued in. It seems that this blonde beauty of a woman has been playing around with Infected DNA. We want you to go undercover, figure out who is sending the DNA to her, kill them, and bring the woman back here. He believes it has to be rebels. They must be trying to perfect these monsters that they keep sending into our cities. Lay low for a few days, dig up all that you can, and strike with ample time for us to uncover some information on these rebel’s whereabouts. We cannot allow them to make any Telios like you or me. Else have our dominion fall into utter ruin at the hands of those foulmouthed incompetents. Questions, brother?”
“What is the woman’s name? I can’t go find her if you don’t give me details, idiot.” Xavier glanced towards where the guards were still on edge. Their hands looked ready to scratch at this itch Xavier was creating on their weapons.
“Her name is Shayda Rivera. She lives in a city named Carson. Due to unfortunate circumstances, we weren’t able to wiretap her house because her mother kept finding them. She also hired Shayda a bodyguard named Gauge Bloodthorn. It seems that he has been in their family for some time now,” he read from a holographic file presented in front of them. “According to our inside resources, he has some relation to the rebels. Thus our interest in the DNA she’s been provided. Her mother’s name is Erin Rivera. She records everything that her daughter has done scientifically. She also keeps her daughter on a relatively tight leash. If Shayda goes somewhere, Gauge tells Erin. Other than that, we can’t say much about her.”
Xavier nodded then watched the holographic image turn from a report to a small, blonde woman sitting on a bed with an elderly patient going through the first few signs of Infection. The woman was a prime example of how the Infection spread. It went through the weak. First, it attacked children and the elderly, killing them with flulike symptoms, then it spread to the more physically able bodied men and women whom it could possess. Each bacteria was relatively different. It was a disease that continuously evolved. That was why Gwen has had such difficulty creating immortality from it. Xavier and Amar were just a few of the Infected that weren’t mindless. They had been graced with bacteria that properly molded to their DNA instead of obliterating it.
Still, Xavier’s attention couldn’t help but go back to the face of the woman tending to the patient. She was oddly attractive. Her eyes were wide and tender. Their blue color was calming, something hard for a man like Xavier to come by nowadays. Her face was heart-shaped and suited her simplistic, loving physical design. Her body was small and very unlike most of the women he frequented. Her breasts were petite, little mounds that caught his attention when the woman sighed. Her legs were long despite her shorter body. They flowed from her slender ankles and up to a curvaceous ass that had Xavier watching as she walked off screen.
Breaking Xavier’s attention was the sight of the man protecting Shayda. He appeared on the holographic screen with his arm wrapped around the smaller woman’s waist. If Xavier didn’t know better, he could have said that their muscles were mirrored, but only a Telios had a perfect build. No rebel could be a Telios. Still, this Gauge was strong with broad shoulders and thick arms. In a hands on brawl, he could prove to be a challenge, but Xavier was a skilled warrior who knew how to kill on sight.
“Well, well, well, Xavier, I just may want to come with you if that guy’s involved,” Winter chimed in as she acknowledged Gauge. “Just look at that ass. Bet you could thump a quarter off of it.” Her elbow jammed into Xavier’s side, but the soldier just ignored her. He needed to focus on this male: find his strengths and play on his weaknesses.
Then screen faded away, and Xavier looked up at Amar who’d finally taken his obnoxious palm off of Oktober’s inner thigh. “She lives at Seventy-five West Beach Ridge,” he explained. “You are to be a casual male who happens to become interested in her. She and Gauge commonly go to buy groceries on Wednesdays and visit the beach on Saturdays. Also, Winter, you will seduce Gauge away from Shayda so that Xavier can occupy the doctor’s time. I suggest you take that god awful coloring out of your hair. Dye it something more practical if you must. He typically hits on red heads.”
“I get to go too!” Winter exclaimed, leaping from her seat like a child. “I never get to go on missions! I usually have to guard your pansy ass from Xavier when you come to Augustine! Yahoo!” Her arms raised to the sky as she hollered out her gratitude.
Irritated, Amar stated, “Yes, now the both of you go get packed before I decide to change my mind and let Vixen go instead.” The red headed guard nicknamed Vixen gave an excited glance that was quickly stomped out by Amar’s glower. Xavier knew why. It was the same reason Xavier’s skin crawled when he saw Amar laying a single part of his body against his sister who was the unfortunate object of his current affections. “And another thing! The two of you are not to speak with one another except to coordinate away from Shayda and Gauge. We do not want our little scheme to get broken up before we have a single one of the rebel’s heads.”
© Copyright 2016 Bridget Shayde. All rights reserved.
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